When Rachel Whitaker heads off to a ‘secular’ university to pursue a degree in pharmacology, she is immediately met with a challenge to her Christian faith as a biology professor informs the class that human life evolved from apes. Though she wavers in her convictions, her father quickly discovers her dilemma and confronts the professor, only to have the professor challenge him to a university debate on the issue of creationism versus evolution. As Rachel tries to talk her father out of the debate, he finds support from an unlikely ally as he digs deeper into the intrigue surrounding the professor. In the end, which side will triumph?
Production Quality (1 point)
For its many faults, at least A Matter of Faith scored one point for production quality. This is awarded for clear video quality and pretty good camera work. However, this is where the positivity ends. Audio quality is okay throughout, but some scenes are louder than others. The sets and locations are pathetic and scream low budget. The surroundings feel very plastic, like the characters are living in a textbook suburban city with no feeling at all. The soundtrack is glaringly amateurish. Finally, the editing is deplorable, just splicing a bunch of random scenes together that we’re supposed to believe are related in some way. Unfortunately, this isn’t where the negativity ends.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Haven’t we had enough of the plot where the student is singled out for their faith by an atheist professor, especially with allegations of copying flying around? A Matter of Faith seems to go out of its way to create a false dichotomy between ‘creationism’ and ‘evolution’ and throws ‘science’ around like a Frisbee. The subtle message in the title seems to suggest that the creators don’t care about facts, just about destroying the atheist viewpoint at all costs. Don’t get me wrong—there’s plenty of problems with ‘evolution’ and we need a meaningful dialogue on this topic, but this film only insults people who oppose its worldview and attempts to scare those who might agree with it. Besides the philosophical concerns, there are many other problems wrong with this plot, which is actually just a collection of disjointed and unrelated snippets and scenes, mostly infused with an out of touch portrayal of life at a ‘secular’ university. The storyline does not flow at all as it hops from one thing to the next. The characters therein are highly stereotypical of a fundamentalist Christian worldview, depicting a controlling father figure, a wallflower mother, a confused younger woman, a heroic younger man, ‘bad boys’, and that evil atheist professor—basically the cast of Princess Cut on a college campus. The premise of the film is trumped up and makes a strawman of the atheist. However, the one thing that keeps this plot from going in the tank is a slightly interesting character concept that is wasted by the overbearing ‘plot’. But in short, A Matter of Faith is a mess that doesn’t even seem to try to be discreet or polite to those who oppose its viewpoint.
Acting Quality (0 points)
This film has accomplished a rare feat. Whereas many independent Christian films are notorious casting actors and actresses without giving them any coaching, the cast of A Matter of Faith seems to be coached too much. This is evident in a general sense of over-acting, such as overdone enunciation of words and overly practiced body language. Cast members say their lines like they’re reading cue cards for a public service announcement. In an attempt to avoid glaring errors, the Christiano crew actually did not come out any better by turning their cast members into robots.
Did the Christiano brothers actually expect to convert anyone to their viewpoint with this film? Is asking someone who believes in evolution if any of their family ancestors looked like apes (yes, that’s in there) truly a productive tactic to use? Is attacking psychology out of left field a winning strategy? We find it hard to believe that A Matter of Faith will even grow any Christians in their faith, as many are still confused as to what the real dichotomy between Biblical creationism and Darwinism (the truly dangerous philosophy) is. Creating a strawman out of ‘evolution’ is counter-productive and confuses people. Real people cannot relate to the events of this film, so it is likely that it will do nothing more than further fuel the fire of contempt between fundamentalist Christians and atheists.
Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points