An R-rated Movie Your Teenagers Should See

I’ve never been one of those parents who uses the PG, PG-13 or R rating as a benchmark for whether a movie is appropriate for my teenagers. Think about it. Would you really hesitate to show your 16-year-old the R-rated Saving Private Ryan? On the other hand… do you really want them watching another PG-13 Adam Sandler flick like last year’s Just Go With It, a PG-13 sex romp.

That’s why I wasn’t too worried when my 17-year-old daughter Alyssa sat down with Lori and I last night to watch the R-rated Gerard Butler film, Machine Gun Preacher.

It’s nice to have websites out there like where you can quickly click on “Parents Guide” and get a quick glimpse of what kind of content the film will show. Plus, my movie reviewer for my web site had recommended the film.

The film earned its R-rating in the first few minutes. One of Butlers first words spoken on screen was the f-word, and it wasn’t long before we saw sensuality, drug use, and violence. This movie was almost as graphic as the Bible! (not quite… the Bible is a little more graphic)

The film is the true story of Sam Childers, a drug addict, biker, felon who finds Jesus and becomes a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children escaping the clutches of the evil LRA in Africa.

This powerful film is thought-provoking and convicting. I’m so glad that Alyssa watched it with Lori and I.

Be warned, the movie is an emotional roller coaster. Several scenes had Alyssa in tears.

I think the reason we loved the film so much was its authenticity. This gritty, real film was so profoundly Christian in theme. It provided a true glimpse of evil in many forms, and the redemptive power of Christ-led compassion.

I think when some people think “Christian” film, they think of Courageous or Facing the Giants. This film is much more like Hotel Rawanda or The Mission.

I not only recommend this movie to parents, I recommend it to church leadership teams. It provides an honest look at the importance of missions, and a sobering peek at how our calling can become corrupted and twisted, destroying our family.

Give the film a chance… you won’t regret it. Just bring a box of Kleenex.

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