The news cycle is loud, but we need to hear those who can’t shout
In the film War Room, many viewers will recognize their own family’s struggles. While modern culture promotes a slew of strategies to retreat from marital strife, War Room portrays a God-centered way to fight the battle for healthy families.
Tony (T.C. Stallings) and Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer) have achieved the American dream, but they are living a nightmare. Tony’s questionable business practices threaten his position as a top pharmaceutical rep, and adulterous temptations draw him away from his wife and daughter (Alena Pitts). Elizabeth, a successful real estate agent, is frustrated by her husband’s inattentiveness and suspicious whenever he’s on the road.
She takes on a client, Clara (Karen Abercrombie), a fiery, Christian widow. But it’s really Clara who takes on Elizabeth, and becomes the Christian mentor she needs. Recognizing Elizabeth’s spiritual distress, Clara shows Elizabeth her “war room”—a closet with 40 years of handwritten prayers taped to the walls. Clara doesn’t want Elizabeth to “step on the land mines I did,” so she talks Elizabeth into weekly one-on-ones.
Clara helps Elizabeth understand her family’s sporadic church attendance and prayer habits are as distasteful to God as the lukewarm coffee Clara once deliberately serves her. She teaches Elizabeth to respect and pray for her husband, and let God fight her battles. Elizabeth empties her shoe closet, establishing her own war room.
War Room (rated PG for thematic elements) radiates the same exuberance Clara portrays, but it occasionally goes overboard. A couple of preachy monologues feel forced, and the film needlessly showcases Stallings’ impressive athletic prowess. (He lifts weights, dunks basketballs, performs standing backflips, and jumps Double Dutch ropes.)
Still, there is much to enjoy in War Room, including the acting. Abercrombie and Shirer are especially good in their roles. And the film’s message is certainly timely: If we surrender our families to God in prayer, we can say with Elizabeth, “This house is under new management.”