#REVIEW: “I STILL BELIEVE”
Review by Mr. Will Wong
Based on the true story of American Christian-Country Singer Jeremy Camp (K.J. Apa) and his first wife Melissa (Britt Robertson), I STILL BELIEVE recounts their battle against all odds to love as they navigate her sudden Cancer diagnosis.
Directed by the Erwin Brothers (I Can Only Imagine) with a Screenplay by Jon Erwin, Jon Gunn and Madeline Carroll, based on Camp’s Autobiography, the Film begins with Jeremy going off to college where he meets Melissa through fellow musician Jean-Luc (Nathan Parsons), whom also shares a romantic interest in Melissa. Determined to win her heart even to the disappointment of Jean-Luc, we see a torn Melissa struggle to reconcile her feelings before tragedy helps her realize how she feels about Jeremy. Despite being aware of the uphill battle they will face, the two are determined to love fearlessly in this life-shaping chapter prior to Jeremy‘s success as a Musician.
I STILL BELIEVE leans heavily on faith and spirituality in its storytelling, explaining how things unfold. Some will get this, some will not. The Film also leans a lot on romantic clichés and we wish at times it was more aware of its own humor.
Robertson delivers a grounded performance that resonates, emanating a light which makes it clear why Jeremy falls so much in love with her. She handles also Melissa‘s more vulnerable moments with grace, carrying a lot of the weight here herself. Apa’s Jeremy is led much of the Film by his heart his rather than his head, at times grappling with the material he’s given, before coming into his own late in the Film. He is a natural in musical numbers, understated in his delivery. I do however, fail to remember any of the hooks on these songs.
While it feels about 15 minutes too long, I STILL BELIEVE very much knows its target audience and is in-tune with what they would expect and want of the Film. How much you are moved to tears on however, might depend on how much a believer you are.
Mongrel Media release I STILL BELIEVE Friday, March 13, 2020.