Few teenagers are willing to take a bold stand for Christ like Rachel Joy Scott, a high school student killed for her faith in the 1999 Columbine massacre. Her unbelievably brave story has been inspiring everyone who hears it for nearly two decades, and now it's getting a chance to inspire on a bigger platform with the movie I'm Not Ashamed.
Starring Masey McLain, Ben Davies, David Errigo Jr., Cory Chapman, Sadie Robertson and Korie Robertson, the latest Pure Flix film is bringing Scott's story to a brand new light as they tell not just the story of her death, but also the story of her life. Based entirely on her heartfelt journals, the movie takes viewers into the months leading up to the tragic shooting and shows Rachel's radical heart for Christ in a way that is truly life-changing for those who see it.
NRT had the honor of attending the Nashville premiere last week, and while movie-goers don't have to worry about it being too intense in terms of content, it was incredibly emotional in its ending and there were no dry eyes in the Belcourt Theater as the credits rolled. The majority of the cast was in attendance as well as artists Plumb and OBB, whose music had a part in the film. Adding to the emotion of the night, Rachel's car was brought from Colorado and parked in front of the theater as a memorial for the cast and crew to adorn with cards and flowers, much like students did to Rachel's car in the school parking lot following the shooting.
See a full gallery of pictures from the premiere HERE.
With the movie leaning on input from Rachel's mother and family, the end result felt overwhelmingly genuine from start to finish. There was a personal touch to the movie, as if you could feel that her loved ones had a huge part in creating it. The storyline flows well as the scenes came straight from Rachel's own writings, showcasing the honest thoughts of someone who wrestled with her passion for God and her desire to fit in with those around her.
While the first half of the movie plays out her struggle and temptations in relationships with both her peers and God, the last half finds her completely giving her heart to Christ and being totally transformed by His power. The story doesn't portray Rachel as a perfect Christian or a church kid who has it all together, which I very much appreciate. Instead, it shows an honest picture of a teenager's battle between selfishness and surrender and the moving decision that comes when we drop our pride and choose to be used by Him. As Rachel draws nearer to Christ throughout the film, we see her find strength in her youth group community and the power of forgiving those who wronged her in relationships. She begins to speak out passionately about Jesus and become a source of encouragement to fellow students.
Though the whole storyline is a picture of the grace and triumphant redemption that is available in Jesus, the last 20 minutes of the movie are where the true inspiration is found. As a growing number of people find a friend in Rachel and she continues to get bolder about her faith, two of her fellow students began to plot against her and the school. The two teenage boys, who both shared classes with Rachel and knew her well, entered Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 with the intent to kill hundreds of students--starting with Rachel. As she sat outside eating lunch and talking with a friend, the two students came up behind them and began to shoot. Holding a gun to her head, they ask if she still believes in Jesus. Without wavering for even a second, she boldly replies "you know I do." The two go on to kill a dozen students and staff before turning the guns on themselves.
As the movie draws to a close, the film writers make sure to capture the impact Rachel's death had on the remaining student body. Loved ones gather around her car in the parking lot to leave letters of love and cry as they reflect on her unshakable faith. The end scene pulls at the viewers' emotions one last time as Rachel's mother goes in her room to place something on her dresser. In the process she finds a drawing Rachel created when she was younger: her handprint with an attached promise that she would one day leave her mark on the world. No one could have known just how true that would be.
The Bottom Line: I'm Not Ashamed is no doubt a special film. Rachel Joy Scott's story is one that deserves to be told to anyone who will listen, a story of relentless bravery and faith even in the face of death. Rachel lived out what it means to be a true follower of Christ, inspiring millions through her passing as well as the time leading up to that tragic day. She saw each moment as a gift and lived with the goal of using those moments intentionally to share her faith with others. Though she is gone too soon, her passion for the things that matter has made such an impact on all those who knew her, and her legacy lives on in each person who hears her story and chooses to live their life completely devoted to Jesus, living out Romans 1:16 with every breath.
Caitlin Lassiter is a North Carolina girl that loves Jesus, music, concerts, writing, C.S. Lewis, and sweet tea... She's also a worship leader dreaming of traveling the world to share God's love.
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