Movie title: I Still Believe
Date released: March 13, 2020
Directors: Jon Erwin and Andrew Erwin
Producer: Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin and Kevin Downes
Lead Actors: KJ Apa, Britt Robertson, Shania Twain, Nathan Parsons, Gary Sinise.
Based on: “I Still Believe” song by Jeremy Camp
Studio/ Distributor: Lionsgate
“I Still Believe” is a romance, faith drama, based on the true life story of Jeremy Camp’s walk with his first wife who died of ovarian cancer. I would describe it as weepy and magnetic because I kept crying and I couldn’t stop myself from watching.
Jeremy camp (KJ Apa), a 20 years old Christian songwriter/singer and a gifted guitarist moves to California for college. There he meets Jean Luca (Nathan Parsons), a known singer/guitarist who he admires, they become friends and Jean becomes sort of a mentor to him. Jeremy also meets Melissa Henning (Britt Robertson), a friend of Jean Luca and they fall in love, they start dating but she insists that they keep it a secret because Jean Luca has feelings for her which she does not reciprocate (she friend zoned him) and she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Things go smooth for the trio till Jean Luca walks in on Jeremy and Melissa kissing in the studio, he gets mad and feels betrayed by both of his friends. Jeremy is a bit relieved after the incidence because their relationship was no longer a secret, but Melissa is disconcerted and breaks up with him.
Jeremy returns home for Christmas break, hurt, then he receives a call from Jean Luca informing him of Melissa’s health condition. He returns to California and meets Melissa in the hospital where she informs him that she’s been diagnosed with stage 3c cancer, their relationship is restored with more intensity, Jeremy proposes to her, takes a semester off school to be at her side through the treatment process and even uses the radio and concert platform to get people to pray for her healing.
Eventually their prayers are answered, the hysterectomy surgery she was scheduled for got cancelled. This is a miracle and is celebrated well by both Melissa’s and Jeremy’s families, the lovebirds have a very beautiful wedding by the beach.
During their honeymoon, Melissa’s cancer returns and her body goes into shock, this time she passes on. Her death shakes up Jeremy’s faith and he gets angry at God, he asks a lot of questions and he drops his guitar.
In one of his grieving moments where he gets violent and breaks his guitar, he finds notes from Melissa’s journal. Reading the notes shows him Melissa’s strong and selfless faith in God even in the midst of her suffering and uncertainties, a line from her notes says, “I’ve learned that suffering doesn’t destroy faith, it refines it”. She encourages him to pick up his guitar and see the positive side of things, she tells him that even if one person is changed by her story, by their story, then she’d be happy.
Two years later, we see Jeremy at a concert where he sings “I Still Believe” and ministers to people about faith and trust in God regardless of challenges because he paints and sees the bigger picture. There he meets Adrienne (Abigail Cowen), the girl whose life was changed by Melissa’s story.
WHAT I THINK 🤔
The movie depicts liquid love and selfless faith in God. It gives a clear picture of what it’s like to go through grief, especially someone who is comforted by faith. I would discuss one theme, one character and two mechanics from the movie because this post is lengthy already.
LOVE: The love between Jeremy camp and Melissa Henning is quite admirable and I look forward to experiencing and sharing such love with someone’s son someday😍. During their wedding vows, her vow struck me, she said, “I will encourage you, lift you up, I’ll be your muse and your anchor, be the love of your life and your biggest fan.” When the minister said “till death do you part”, she said “no, past that, I will love you past that”.
The love in Jeremy’s family also appealed to me, his parents took out a loan to get him a guitar because they understood that he was gifted with the guitar. Though they were not fully convinced that their 20 year old son should be getting married to a cancer patient, they stood by him. His mother, Terry Camp (Shania Twain) gave him her ring and his father, Tom Camp (Gary Sinise) officiated the wedding.
MELISSA HENNING: Melissa was my favorite character in the movie, I was drawn to her and everything that she went through. I could understand her loving Jeremy and not wanting to hurt Jean Luca at the same time, I could feel her pain and disappointment when she started losing her hair and when the doctor told her that she won’t be able to have children 💔 . I loved the way she delivered her lines, on her first date with Jeremy where they went stargazing, she said something that ministered to me “God is so infinitely vast, and this is his painting, we paint with brushes, he paints with a billion stars and a trillion galaxies, and he knows my name, the God of a trillion stars knows my name and he has a destiny just for me, and I’m gonna figure it out, someday.” I just loved her, watching the movie, I fell in love with the character she played and I cried when she passed on, even though she was prepared for it.
WRITING: I could not help but notice the screenwriters’ work. Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn did a good job writing the script, the dialogues were mostly deep and meaningful. Kudos to them 👍.
SOUNDTRACK/MUSIC: The songs used are contemporary Christian music and they were just perfect for the scenes, like “can’t help falling in love”- Harley Reinhart in the wedding scene. When Jeremy sang “I Still Believe” towards the end of the movie, I lifted my hands in worship, I couldn’t resist, especially after seeing the movie. I’m definitely going to find most of the songs featured in the movie, they were good songs.
CONCLUSION: I would give “I Still Believe” a four star rating and I definitely definitely recommend it for you. You should see this movie.