Culture

Two Hot Flicks Feature Black Leads, But #2 'War Room' Out-Shocks 'Compton'

Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) shares a laugh with Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla C. Shirer) in the new movie 'War Room'.

Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) shares a laugh with Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla C. Shirer) in the new movie ‘War Room’.

The top two movies in the U.S.A. this weekend both feature African-Americans prominently. The R-rated one about rap music (‘Straight Outta Compton‘) raked in $13 million at the box office. The PG-rated one, about an upper middle-class broken marriage and the power of prayer, brought in $11 million.

“War Room” features no movie stars, no sex, no violence, no cursing — nothing but theaters full of people with Kleenex in their hands, and joy in their hearts.

CONFESSION: I thought the preview was weak, and I didn’t want to see it. I told my wife of my disinterest roughly 37 times. But I like holding hands with my bride, and said I’d see whatever film she wanted if I could sit next to her. Glad I did. Went back to see it a second time. Destroyed half a pack of tissues…again. My older teen boys saw it with us, and they liked it too.

“War Room” connects so well with audiences, beyond its Christian base, because nearly everyone has experienced difficulties in marriage.

You could call “War Room” a counter-culture film. It defies the conventional wisdom that urges the offended spouse to find her own happiness, free from the offensive one. It even offers a twist on the stories about women fighting for their marriages. Compared with the gritty spectacle of “Straight Outta Compton,” it’s actually “War Room” that brings the more shocking statement.

Elizabeth and Tony Jordan, and daughter Danielle, live what appears to be a charmed life, with the accoutrements of wealth from Tony’s job as a pharmaceutical salesman, and Elizabeth’s real estate work. But we quickly learn this marriage is in trouble from obsession with career, disagreements over spending, general isolation, temptations to infidelity and other forms of selfishness. But when Elizabeth meets Miss Clara, an elderly woman who’s selling her home, their lives take an astounding turn.

For couples tired of beating their heads against the wall of frustration, anger and bitterness, “War Room” offers a possible way out, that will, frankly, sound “way out” if you’re not accustomed to spiritual solutions to human problems.

But, hey, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. You could do worse than to emulate the characters in “War Room.” You probably ARE doing worse. Going to see it with your spouse may provide an appropriate icebreaker — a new beginning that could change everything.

The Kendrick Brothers keep polishing their craft with each successive movie — “Flywheel” (2003), “Facing the Giants” (2006), “Fireproof” (2008), “Courageous” (2011).

“War Room” offers the tightest script, the best acting, a deft use of humor, and the most engaging story yet.