Lately I have been watching a lot of Christian movies, and it seems that many of them have been sport dramas – Bicycle racing sport dramas; Football sport dramas; Rugby sport dramas. So I suppose it was only a matter of time until I had to watch and review a basketball sport drama.
New Hope, the new movie from R-Squared Productions, is a basketball drama that revolves around Michael Evans, an 18 year old senior high pastor’s kid, who has just moved into town with his family. As is typical in many sport dramas Michael is having a hard time adjusting to life in the small town of New Hope, N’Ope as one character refers to it. And like so many teen movies it’s not long before the conflict begins.
As the movie begins we quickly learn that the town has been rocked by the sudden and tragic death of a high school student, Chase Green. After being introduced to the Evans family the story follows Michael as he begins at his new school. Michael is a good basketball player and so his father has arranged for Michael to play on the school basketball team. However, Michael soon finds himself the target of Lucas Green, a teammate and a fellow senior high student, who would like nothing more then to see Michael quit the team and stay out of his way. The Reason? Lucas has it in his head that Michael has taken Chase’s place on the team. To make matters worse, Michael makes friends with Chase’s ex-girlfriend, Jasmine, a friendship that quickly develops into romance. As such, Michael becomes the focus (and punching bag) of Lucas’ anger.
Reading the above, one might simply roll the eyes and shrug New Hope off as simply another youth sport drama filled to the brim with teenage angst. And while it is true that New Hope is a movie about teens dealing with raging hormones and a lot of angst, it’s also a movie about hurting people dealing with loss who can’t seem to move on.
Ben Davies (Courageous) is totally believable as the hurting Lucas. His violent outbursts, although not pleasant, are understandable, especially when it’s revealed that Chase was not just his brother, but also his best friend. Likewise, Samuel Davis (soon to be seen in Abel’s Field) and Perry Frost are both good in their respective roles as Michael and Jasmine. The acting from the rest of the cast was good, but at times a little hit and miss; In some scenes the supporting actors were a little wooden. Rest assured though the acting for the most part is pretty good, and to be honest most viewers probably aren’t as picky as yours truly
The production quality was above average. The sound was good and the picture was nice and clear. The music was good throughout and I especially liked the music used during the basketball games. The cinematography, which was good for the most part, was again a little hit-and-miss – the sports action scenes and outdoor shots were very well filmed, but some of the indoor scenes were not so great. The screenplay on the other hand, although a little bit predictable, was excellent, and the story really came alive thanks to the penmanship of the movie’s writer and director, Rodney Ray.
I’m sure that the minor issues I had with New Hope will not affect too many peoples enjoyment of the movie itself… for what it’s worth I enjoyed this movie.
As for content, New Hope has a solid Christian worldview. One of the things I have noticed in the last little while is that many of the latest Christian movies are really pushing and driving home the Gospel message, and New Hope is no exception. In fact, New Hope may have a few minor issues in the production side of things, but this is more than made up for in the quality of the Christian content presented. Loss, anger, frustration, moving on, love, sex, drinking, and more are tackled in New Hope, and again thanks to some excellent writing, there are a lot of good biblical teaching moments to be found in this movie.
New Hope is a great youth movie, and I highly recommend this movie to teens and parents with teens; This movie would be an excellent conversation starter in a family or youth group setting.
New Hope is a great youth movie about healing and hope. With some very powerful and moving moments, as well as an uncompromising message of the hope found in Jesus, New Hope is one of the better youth oriented movies out there right now.
Christian St John – Christian Film Guide Editor
|Christian Film Guide Ratings for New Hope (2012):|
Violence: A young man gets punched in the face by another young man. Some brawling including punching, pushing and shoving. Verbal threats are made. One character is extremely angry – in one scene he takes his anger out on a tree, hitting it with several baseball bats. Suicide is talked about.
Sex/Nudity: Some kissing. A young woman hands a young man a condom and it is suggested that they had sex… it turns out they didn’t. Previous to this the young woman asks the young man to “stay over” at her house while her parents are out.
Language: Minor – suck, butt, idiot, freakin’.
Drugs/Alcohol: Some drinking of alcohol by teens.
Faith/Spiritual Content: The lead characters father is a pastor. God, Jesus, and church are spoken about. Not everyone is a Christian, but through example at least two people become Christians before the end of the movie. There are a lot of great teaching moments from a Christian point-of-view that would be good for opening dialogue between parents and their teenage children. A young man twice resists temptation to have sex.