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K.J. Apa and Britt Robertson star in I Still Believe.

Michael Kubeisy/Lionsgate

  • I Still Believe
  • Directed by Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin
  • Written by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn
  • Starring K.J. Apa, Britt Robertson and Gary Sinise
  • Classification PG; 115 minutes

rating

1.5 out of 4 stars

By this point in the faith-based film boom, you already know whether you are going to love or loathe a film like I Still Believe. Arriving from sibling directors Andrew and Jon Erwin (I Can Only Imagine, October Baby), based on the life of contemporary Christian musician Jeremy Camp and ending with an on-screen sell to evangelical site ChatAboutFaith.com, the new film assumes that you are already all-in on Jesus or just about ready to be saved. There is no middle ground, despite the Erwin brothers’ many attempts to ape the saccharine beats and swoony emotions of a mainstream romantic drama.

Read more: Shania Twain, movie star? That don’t impress her much

New movies this weekend, including spare and powerful First Cow, heartbreaking Red Snow and Netflix thriller Lost Girls

As far as the preaching-to-the-choir genre goes, though, I Still Believe is a far more tolerable exercise than, say, last year’s anti-abortion screed Unplanned or any recent movie with the word “Heaven” in the title (Heaven Is for Real, Miracles from Heaven). Most of this is due to the committed, if ultimately insubstantial and disposable, performances by real-deal actors K.J. Apa (better known as Archie on CW’s Riverdale) as aspiring singer-songwriter Jeremy and Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland) as the cancer-ridden object of his affection, Melissa. (The less said about whatever Gary Sinise and Shania Twain – yes, Shania Twain!!! – are attempting as Jeremy’s humble-shucks parents, the better.)

The proselytizing consistently grates, but the movie is so dramatically dull and drenched in a kind of processed American heartland emotional cheese that there is little to get either excited about or riled up over. Close your eyes and pray, and it’ll soon be over.

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I Still Believe opens March 13.

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