There aren’t many Christian films that have notable casts or even make it to mainstream audiences. Recently, 2019’s Breakthrough featured This Is Us’s Chrissy Metz That 70s Show’s Topher Grace and even earned a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Now, I Still Believe has taken to the mainstream audience with a rockstar cast. Though it’s not an entirely memorable film, it has some great performances and cinematography that make it a pretty enjoyable watch.
I Still Believe follows the real life story of Jeremy Camp, a famous Christian musician, and his journey through music and love. After Jeremy (KJ Apa) goes to college and meets Melissa (Britt Robertson), he knows God pointed him toward her. However when Melissa gets sick, life becomes a series of God’s tests for the young couple.
Jeremy’s story is so beautiful, and Jon Gunn does a great job with the screenplay. What makes it even more heartbreaking is that it’s a true story. However, true stories can be tricky, because in order to preserve the integrity of the story there isn’t much room for excitement. This can make a film very slow, and this film certainly suffers from being too slow-paced.
At the end of the film, Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin included footage of the real Jeremy Camp and his family, talking about why their story is so important and what the film means to them. It’s a lovely addition to the film that makes it more personable and builds a deeper connection with the audience.
With a relatively simple story and slow-pacing, the film’s true saving grace is its two lead characters. Apa takes the lead as Jeremy, and truly steals the film. His boyish charm, faithful energy and caring spirit radiates through the screen and touches every audience member. Robertson’s performance as Melissa isn’t far off from Apa’s, as she showcases endless amounts of grace and realism in her character.
The rest of the cast doesn’t get as much good screen time, but this is probably for the best due to their mediocre performances. Shania Twain and Gary Sinise’s performances as Jeremy’s parents are cute, but don't bring a lot of energy. Nathan Parsons portrays Jean-Luc La Joie, the lead singer of the band, The Kry, which gets Jeremy his big break. Parsons also doesn’t really seem to bring much to the character and pretty much plateaus from the moment he’s seen on the screen.
Another positive point that offsets the slow-pacing is the cinematography, spearheaded by Kristopher Kimlin. Every scene is beautifully done, between the shots of Jeremy’s concerts to his wedding on the beach. Not only are the landscape shots beautiful, but watching Apa’s face up close and personal provides such a strong connection between the audience and his character.
Overall, I Still Believe isn’t that memorable, but it does leave a good message of hope. Though it is a religious film, it can be enjoyed by non-believers as well. One thing’s for sure: Apa and Robertson carry the entire film, and their performances will stick with you.