Cinema Clash podcast: Radioactive; Yes, God, Yes; The Rental

Review: I Still Believe

I Still Believe is squarely aimed at the faith-based crowd and fans of popular Christian music singer Jeremy Camp. So if you fall into that particular demographic, then I do believe that I Still Believe will strike a chord. It tells the true-life story of Camp’s meet-cute and instant attraction to Melissa, a fellow student at Calvary Chapel Bible College in California. They married in 2000, and she died four months later of ovarian cancer at the age of 21. The personal tragedy inspired Camp to write what would become a hit worship song called – you guessed it – “I Still Believe.”

I Still Believe is all about love and loss, life and death, faith and hope. It plays like a typical Hallmark movie or very special episode of “Touched By An Angel” (I half expected Roma Downey or the spirit of Della Reese to descend upon the sand), but with the added benefit of a semi-decent cast and solid production values. The film was written and directed by the Erwin Brothers, creators of the 2018 faith-based movie I Can Only Imagine with Dennis Quaid. They’ve got a formula, and they stick to it.

The young man who plays Camp (KJ Apa, TV’s Riverdale) is talented and endearing. He does all his own singing and pulls it off quite well. Britt Robertson (The Space Between Us) is fine as Camp’s beloved Melissa, ever true to her faith even in the throes of illness. Gary Sinise is the most accomplished actor in the cast, taking on a minor role as Camp’s father, while country star Shania Twain plays Camp’s mom. She’s virtually unrecognizable in the film and isn’t called upon to sing, so that particular casting choice comes off rather odd.

I Still Believe is Camp’s personal tribute to Melissa’s love, faith and legacy – made with all the best intentions. But it’s so heavy-handed with the god stuff that its appeal will be limited to the Christian crowd, or potential converts. Jeremy Camp has sold more than five million albums worldwide, so there’s a built-in audience for I Still Believe. And I do believe they’ll see it. Most everyone else will be forgiven if they choose to take a pass.

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