WAR ROOM – Review by Susan Granger

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Back in 1953, the Ladies Home Journal inaugurated its trademark feature “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” Each month, troubled couples would relate their problems and a marriage counselor would suggest solutions. Perhaps I’m incorrect but I certainly don’t remember any therapist suggesting that a psychologically abused wife turn to praying in a closet as a remedy. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy good spiritually-based movies like “Field of Dreams,” etc. Indeed, my brother, Stephen Simon, started the Internet-based Spiritual Cinema Circle. But not this kind of simplistic drivel. Read on…

Set in middle-class suburb, the story revolves around busy Elizabeth “Liz” Jordan (Priscilla Shirer), wife of Tony (T.C. Stallings), mother to 10 year-old Danielle (Alena Pitts) and part-time realtor.

As a pharmaceuticals rep, Tony is often on the road. When he returns home, he has control issues, criticizing Danielle for jumping role instead of playing baseball, refusing to help Liz’s sister out financially, and escaping to the gym whenever he can.

When Liz meets Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) who is interested in selling her house, a friendship develops, as elderly Clara questions bitterly unhappy Liz about her religious beliefs, urging her to make a commitment to Jesus and cast Satan out of her home.

Pious Clara, who was influenced by her late Vietnam battle-strategist husband, shows Liz her “war room,” an empty closet she uses for praying, referring to Matthew 6:6, which is often translated, “When you pray, go into your inner room”…but the King James Bible substitutes the word “closet.’

Somewhat skeptical at first, Liz nevertheless creates her own clothes closet “war room” when she becomes aware that thieving Tony is on the brink of betraying her with a co-worker.

Evangelical filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick fared better with their previous faith-fueled films: “Courageous,” “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof.” This time, the pacing lags while Paul Mills’ soundtrack blares with Christian rock anthems, even as Liz and Tony experience a heavy-handed Mary Magdalene moment.

FYI: daughter of Rev. Tony Evans, Priscilla Shirer is a Christian educator. And, if you’re curious about the recommended prayer regimen, check out the Battle Plan Prayer Cards and Sticky Notes, available for purchase on the entrepreneurial Kendricks’ website: https://kendrickbrothers.com

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “War Room” is a proselytizing 3, aimed at a church-going audience.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.