GOD’S COUNTRY SONG is an irresistibly rousing movie on Pure Flix about a troubled country singer who struggles with alcohol abuse and tries to get sober when he has to take care of the young son, he didn’t know he had, while mending fences with his father. Packed with 14 entertaining original songs, GOD’S COUNTRY SONG delivers a remarkably entertaining yet turbulent and intense portrayal of a weighty subject, but it passionately depicts the power of God’s love and redemption through Jesus Christ.
Given the Pure Flix intention to be a Christian family channel, GOD’S COUNTRY SONG pushes the boundaries slightly with the movie’s realistic coverage of substance abuse. GOD’S COUNTRY SONG provides a family-friendly way to think and talk about the subject.
The first scene of GOD’S COUNTRY SONG launches the subject of alcohol front and center as the camera work starts at the bar of a country-western dance hall. The bartender hands a tray of poured drinks to a waitress, whom the camera follows as she delivers the beers to waiting patrons, a crowd of country music fans. The attention switches to the source of the music dominating the scene, singer Noah Bryan and his band, belt out a lively song that eventually gets the crowd involved. This is a scene that will play out several times throughout the movie, as Noah and his band are on tour, where they’re found every week at a similar venue in a different town. Noah’s preshow and post show alcoholic beverage intake is a repeat depiction as well.
Noah’s manager, Larry Walker, has booked the tour to get Noah the exposure necessary for a big break in the music business. Larry and Noah hope that talent agents, studio execs, or more well-known country music artists will catch the act and invite Noah to the next level.
A successful recording artist, Colt Young, played by real-life country star Coffey Anderson, invites Noah to his recording studio to see if Noah is a good match for Colt’s opening act for the next tour. An agreement is struck, and Noah is about to get the break he’s been working for so hard and so long.
Three major challenges arise in the story arc, two known and one a surprise. The obvious comes as Colt and his recording label demand that there’s no alcohol use on his tours. Sadly, though, Noah’s drinking just gets worse, to the point of hindering his own performances, and eventually leading him into an arrest, which puts the brakes on the tour with Colt.
The unexpected turn arrives with the serving of court papers that declare Noah the father of a heretofore unknown child. A paternity test proves Noah to be the biological father of a pre-kindergarten aged son named JJ, and Noah gets custody of JJ. Now a father with a son to raise, Noah must suddenly rearrange his daily life for this lifetime commitment to raise a human being. Noah’s first instinct is to turn to his own immediate family, his father and mother, Jeremiah and Sara, who manage a third-generation farm and are devout Christians.
The other known challenge is Noah’s estranged relationship with his father, Jeremiah. This broken relationship is painfully portrayed in prior scenes of GOD’S COUNTRY SONG. Returning to that relationship will be difficult enough for both father and son. Complicating matter is that Noah’s own parenting skills seem clumsy to him, based on his dysfunctional relationship with his father. Meanwhile, Noah develops a romantic interest in JJ’s social worker, Leann.
Will the Christian witness of Noah’s manager, his parents and Colt hep him find Jesus and give up the bottle?
The production quality in GOD’S COUNTRY SONG is first rate. The movie presents an entertaining combination of high-quality acting, top-notch directing, an engaging script, and great cinematography both indoors and outside. The movie takes time to pause in silence with the characters to evoke their feelings and thoughts. Also, the soundtrack is a real treat, with 14 original songs comparable to any big screen production. Married Nashville artists Melissa and Andy Sheridan created 13 of the 14 original songs. Lead actor Justin Gaston was so inspired by the movie’s effect upon him that he wrote and recorded a song (“The One”) expressing his own gratefulness to God for not letting his own past define him, but rather God being “The One” to want him, even to save him. Justin plays Noah with great believability.
GOD’S COUNTRY SONG has a strong Christian, biblical worldview. This is portrayed in multiple ways.
For example, Noah’s parents read Scripture, pray and attend worship services in church. Noah’s manager, Larry, and Colt, the country star in the story, promote Christian lyrics, lifestyles and second chances. The story also promotes repentance, turning your life over to Jesus Christ, or whether through Noah’s turning his life over to Christ through prayer, making amends, and stepping into self-sacrificial love with his family and friends.
MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children. That’s because GOD’S COUNTRY SONG depicts the self-gratification and hedonism that comes with a pagan lifestyle. For example, the movie depicts the dark world of alcohol abuse. It shows Noah’s public drunkenness, his deteriorating relationships, and Noah getting into a bar fistfight while under the influence. Also, the dance hall scenes show numerous young adult crowds enjoying booze.
As an earlier MOVIEGUIDE® article astutely observed, however, “GOD’S COUNTRY SONG speaks to a lesser publicized reality of the Christian walk – pain, suffering, and sorrow – which is important to highlight because it reveals God’s redemptive power” (https://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/how-gods-country-song-tackles-difficulties-in-the-christian-walk.html).
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