A high-school history teacher, Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart), gets caught up in a high-profile legal case over her right to discuss Jesus in a public classroom after answering a question from a student named Brooke Thawley (Hayley Orrantia). Now she and her lawyer, Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe) must face strong opposition from a brash lawyer, Peter Kane (Ray Wise) representing Brooke’s parents and the school.
If you would like to read my review of God’s Not Dead, click here. While I don’t want to repeat myself too much but I have to say that I’ve seen a lot of religious films and I have yet to watch a decent one. I am not religious myself but it shouldn’t matter. I will say that after watching the first film, my expectations weren’t very high for this one (they weren’t before watching the first film either) so after watching this one, I learned that it was warranted but please continue reading.
The story this time involves a high-school history teacher named Grace Wesley (Hart) who gets caught up in a high-profile legal case when she was caught discussing Jesus and his teachings when prompted by a question from one of her students in her class, Brooke Thawley (Orrantia). Now she and her lawyer, Tom Endler (Metcalfe), must face strong opposition from their community and face a brash lawyer in the courtroom, Peter Kane (Wise).
In comparison with the first film, this one was pretty similar plot-wise with one devout character facing some hardship and is then forced to have to defend their faith to some higher power. While the first film also featured other secondary characters overcoming their own hardships by finding faith in Jesus. This film lacked new secondary characters as a few from the original film (who I won’t bother mentioning) came back for this one for some reason but had little impact on the main plot.
While I found the first film to be overbearing religion-wise, this one did not let up either (perhaps more so). This leads me to the premise that led to the events of the rest of the film where a religious high-school teacher discussing Jesus in a public school. This led to overreactions from both sides with the student’s atheist parents and school administrators taking Wesley to court and Wesley and her growing Christian following believing she has the right to discuss Jesus in class. You know they have schools for that right? The one thing I did not like the most about the first film was its depictions of certain types of characters with the Christians being the morally-righteous ones (almost being put on a pedestal) while the atheists are not depicted as favourably, still implying one being better than the other. Characters appeared as extremes of either side.
The courtroom scenes featuring Wesley, Endler, Kane, and also the presiding judge, Robert Stennis (Ernie Hudson), had some entertainment but still came off as cheesy and incoherent. The big thing here was the whole idea of separation of church and state but continuing with the film’s one sided nature favoring Christians, church can interfere with state but state can’t interfere with church. I just found the film’s hypocritical nature to be very off-putting.
Character traits aside, there wasn’t really much to any of them as they all came off as rather one-dimensional. There wasn’t really anything interesting about them. The only thing I found kind of interesting was the fact that Metcalfe’s character Endler wasn’t religious but the film didn’t do anything with that.Wesley just came off as little too “woe is me” which made me not like her as much as was probably intended. Kane just came off as a caricature of the evil atheist establishment. Despite that, I found the acting from Hart, Metcalfe, and Wise to be rather decent. I just didn’t find the story very compelling because of the script.
Overall, this is still a pro-Christian propaganda film which I found slightly better than the first but this time, I just couldn’t stand behind the message.