From time to time, a faith-based movie comes out in limited release. Christians understand the power of numbers and feel obligated to support the film, despite its artistic weaknesses.
Such is the case with King’s Faith, a PG-13 flick highlighting the struggles of Brendan King (Crawford Wilson), a young man aging-out of the foster care system with a drug and juvenile detention record.
The film focuses on Brendan’s newfound faith and the tenacious love of foster parents Mike and Vanessa Stubs (James McDaniel and the lovely Lynn Whitfield). It’s an inspiring story on paper, but the film doesn’t deliver.
Apart from King, the other personalities are awkward and flimsy, like paper dolls mouthing platitudes. Seasoned actors McDaniel and Whitfield can’t rise above the mediocre script, and while Crawford Wilson shows the possibility of stronger acting chops, director Nicholas DiBella relies on Wilson’s moody good looks and sad eyes in lieu of character development.
DiBella’s effort is commendable and his source material—the transformative power of the gospel—unparalleled. But the film fails as a work of art because it doesn’t reflect the triune reality of God—the ultimate Artist.
Dorothy Sayers, Christian essayist, author, and literary commentator, believed human creativity is triune in nature. She said novel writing (a near-relative of film-making) has three aspects: the idea of the book, the writing of the book, and the reading of the book—the “Idea, Energy, and Power.” Ideally these elements—mirroring Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—create a three-in-oneness coalescing into the perfect work of art.
Knowing many creative works fall short of perfection, Sayers explained, “the Idea is feeble, the Energy ill directed and the Power conspicuously lacking.”
That sums up King’s Faith. Though an admirable attempt to expose the plight of older children in foster care and the vital role foster families play in their lives, the film fails to pull “Idea, Energy, and Power” into the synchronous tension of triune art.