Unsurprising and emotional, I Still Believe is a weepie movie at its core. The overdramatic digicam actions, overexaggerated plot and oversentimental music reveal a real story making an attempt too laborious. Solid lead performances soften these mechanisms however not by a lot.
The movie, directed by the Erwin Brothers (Andrew and Jon) and written by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn, is predicated on the real-life experiences of Christian rock singer Jeremy Camp as detailed in his ebook of the identical identify. Broadly, it’s a narrative about love and religion. Jeremy (Okay.J. Apa) meets Melissa (Britt Robertson) of their early school days, however each are examined spiritually and emotionally when she is recognized with most cancers.
I Still Believe prefers a common emotional sweep over a deep dive. It spends a reckless period of time throughout the first two acts on fluff scenes. We witness their meet-cute, their montage of holding arms, and the subplot of a nemesis that’s an all-around swell man.
The plot holes and lack of simple timeline are much more so obvious. How does Jeremy make the leap from a vital unknown to a performer in sold-out reveals? There’s no precise second to level to; it simply occurs. This can also be the case at the beginning of the movie, with Jeremy as a freshman in school, after which someway, he’s in his 20s within the blink of an eye fixed.
Moreover, the story determines to solely have interaction their romance in a common faith-based understanding. As a end result, it collapses into melodramatic declarations versus real-life moments. Their first date dialog is one instance. Melissa says, “The God of a trillion stars knows my name,” and Jeremy is entranced. This histrionic corniness incessantly turns into laughable.
The movie edifies the dramatic tone in all different features as effectively. There is an over-the-top, slow-motion eye contact when Jeremy and Melissa first meet. The steady monitoring and crane photographs in virtually each scene turns into a method to brush the viewers by means of a whirlwind romance. Even performances of Jeremy’s authentic songs reminiscent of “I Still Believe” and “Walk by Faith” are utilized as hovering emotional placeholders versus actual conversations.
However, it’s applaudable how I Still Believe nonetheless manages to convey the total emotional turmoil of most cancers, and the way religion in God can play a job. Robertson’s unshakable efficiency is as uncooked as it might get in a weepie movie. Prior to this position, she’s primarily been typecast within the teen enviornment however her flip as Melissa is proof-positive that she has performing chops past her resumé.
Star of the CW teen melodrama Riverdale, Apa can also be from an analogous background. And although he doesn’t convey “the look” as a romantic lead in addition to he does within the tv drama (in all probability as a result of broad writing), he performs a flawless heartbroken wretch that finds grace.
When you purpose excessive, some apples are certain to shake free. I Still Believe shakes free some nice performances and a common appreciation for the huge craziness of life. But the stakes of this real-life story are, regrettably, pushed over the sting.