Title: I’m Not Ashamed
Directed by: Brian Baugh
Starring: Masey McLain, Sadie Robertson
Release Date: October 21, 2016
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
FA Scorecard: A
Columbine. Before 1999, it was recognized as a flower. After 1999, it’s something we all remember even if we weren’t a part of it. The world’s eyes were on a school in the middle of the U.S. as two students massacred their classmates.
Rachel Joy Scott is one of the names that came out of that tragedy. It’s another name that anyone who remembers Columbine knows. She was a Christian and she died for it. This movie covers the rest of Rachel’s life. Everything that brought her to that crystalline moment in history.
A typical teenager, Rachel (played by Jennifer O’Neill) has to deal with everything that pretty much every high school student does. Cliques. Bullying. Personality clashes. Boys. Dating. It’s all in there. Unlike other films that might take a documentary approach or have to guess at motivation, this story was pulled from journals that Rachel kept herself. So this movie unfolds with her most intimate thoughts, concerns, and struggles. Does the boy she likes feel the same? How can she get noticed by him? And, key to the entire story (and her life), her struggles with her faith.
It feels odd to talk about the plot, twists, and turns. This is a biopic. It was Rachel’s life. I’m sure that some leeway was taken to make the story fit together so neatly. As a screenwriter, it doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is how beautifully it translated for the screen. Bodie Thoene (one of my all time favorite authors) Philipa A. Booyens, Robin Hanley, and Kari Redmond did a great job on this screenplay. Weaving together the circumstances, actual footage, personal stories, and journal entries in a cohesive storyline couldn’t have always been easy. And often, what happens in real life is too fantastical for fiction cause people wouldn’t believe it. I’m sure some of that came into play here as well. I appreciated the way it came across on the screen and I loved how they told the story.
I’ll be honest here. I wanted to watch this movie and at the same time I didn’t. I lived an hour from here when it happened. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my first child when it happened. This was an area my husband and I had just visited the weekend before. When I watched things play out on that day, it was my first real moment experiencing the life of a military spouse. Not having all the details, not understanding what was happening, my husband’s base was put on alert as it happened. This story affected me in ways that I still can’t completely process. So I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it, even as I wanted to see how they did with it.
This movie was worth the price of admission and more. This movie was well done. It’s a beautiful example of what a faith based film should be. (This from someone who works in the business. I’m hard on films. But it truly is a wonderful bar for quality, storytelling and sharing faith on the big screen.) I predict that this movie is going to be around for a while. And that makes me happy. The world needs to know Rachel Scott’s story. They need to see her faith on that screen because it mirrored the walk of so many of us as we grow in our faith. But more than that, Rachel Scott, even with all of her struggles, questions, and mistakes, was an example of the hands and feet of Jesus. I know that for me, I felt it showed my faith on the big screen in a better way than a lot of recent films have.
I’m thankful that I put aside my concerns and watched it. It was really good. Don’t miss it. Go see it today. And then call your friends and take them with you next weekend. It’s that good.