I Still Believe (2020) – Review, Summary (With Spoilers)

Title Card - I Still Believe (2020)

“I Still Believe” with its tear-inducing story will make it so, even if you aren’t a person of faith, you’ll get why some hold onto theirs so tightly – despite it all.

“I Still Believe” with its tear-inducing story will make it so, even if you aren’t a person of faith, you’ll get why some hold onto theirs so tightly – despite it all.

Director(s) Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin
Screenplay By Jon Erwin, Jon Gunn
Date Released (Theatrical) 3/12/2020
Genre(s) Romance, Young Adult, Faith Focused, Music
Duration 1 Hour, 55 Minutes
MPAA Rating PG
Noted Cast
Jeremy K.J. Apa
Melissa Britt Robertson
Adrienne Abigail Cowen

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Summary/ Review (Ending Spoilers & Sequel Potential Are On The Second Page)

“ I Still Believe” is about Jeremy Camp’s relationship with his first with Melissa Henning. It begins in the fall of 1999, when they met in college, and takes us through the trials and tribulations they went through. Nothing too saucy, but with Jeremy believing they were fate and Melissa struggling with how she feels, things begin rocky. However, Jeremy’s consistency and events that change Melissa’s mind in his favor lead to the kind of romance that YA novel writers wish they could craft.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

Suffering doesn’t destroy faith, it refines it.
— Melissa


The Amount Of Tears You’ll Shed

I honestly can not recall the last time I cried so much throughout a movie. And mind you, outside of its Christian spin, “I Still Believe” is essentially the same setup as the majority of YA novels in existence. Boy meets Girl, one isn’t so sure about the other, one moment leads to a date, and then they are inseparable until the worst thing imaginable happens.

But, while no story in existence is new, I will say that even with knowing the trajectory due to watching the IMAX fan event, which tells you what happens, I was still in tears at least once every few minutes. And when I say in tears, I’m talking about crying from both eyes, getting choked up, and my chest tightening. I’m talking about a serious emotional reaction, which I can’t say is due to this story being real or because of the magnificent acting.

KJ Apa’s Charm

Jeremy as he gets married to Melissa.
K.J. Apa

Leading men with charm aren’t hard to find. A white boy with hair, a good face, abs, and knows how to make a girl swoon is pretty much the minimum if you wish to work in anything beyond indie dramas. Apa, on the other hand, doesn’t rest on the basics. In a movie about faith, you can see this drive behind his eyes and in every action as if, beyond knowing the story and having the script, he and Melissa will be together in the end, and you get sucked in so deep.

In fact, even with knowing how things will end, while you may not have hope things will change, you get brought into each individual moment and find yourself gripping onto it. Hoping that you can just lull in the feeling before the inevitable hits.

How In The Moment Robertson Always Seems

And part of what really enhances nearly every moment is you can clearly see Robertson becomes Melissa. Unlike many actors, whose charisma makes it so you can never disassociate the actor from the character, from seeing her at a faith concert and crying, she breaks away. And, in fact, she is probably going to be the one who triggers most of your tears. For there is just something about her reaction to Jeremy, the highs and lows, which brings you to this uncomfortable vulnerability. If not the kind of empathy that feels so foreign that it almost feels wrong to connect with someone on that level.

Yet, in many ways, that is how faith is pushed in this film. As you watch Robertson react in concerts, how she talks about her relationship with God, it forces you to understand how, even while suffering and appearing like they are shunned, people still believe.

Melissa (Britt Robertson) smiling at one of Jeremy's concerts.
Melissa (Britt Robertson)

On The Fence

Most Of Jeremy’s Songs Aren’t That Catchy

Honestly, the only thing I can ding the movie for is that, be it the actual Jeremy Camp’s songs, or KJ Apa’s singing, the music didn’t do a thing for me. Mind you, the movie had a mini-concert proceeding it featuring Lauren Daigle, whose discography I plan to have in constant rotation. However, while I recognize the simplicity of Camp’s music is likely backed by the same faith we saw Apa tap into as a romantic lead, something just felt flat about the music.


Would Watch Again? – Worth Revisiting

Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

Films rooted in faith aren’t necessarily our go-to. Like horror, we’re not against watching them, but there are precedents that keep our expectations low. But when it comes to “I Still Believe,” those expectations were unfounded and blown out of the water. The team which brought Jeremy Camp’s story to life hit you in every which way they can. They give you the kind of romance people could only dream of, performances that don’t use the tragedy of the story as a crutch, and even if you aren’t a person of faith, you are left with an understanding of those who have it which may make you wish you could believe as they do.

“I Still Believe” Ending Spoilers

Jeremy (K.J. Apa) dealing with Melissa's death.
Jeremy (K.J. Apa)

In the end, Melissa dies from a cancer which started in her stomach, spread to her liver, and while she was given a strange, almost miraculous reprieve, seeming for her wedding day, within weeks she was coughing up blood and dying. Thus leaving Jeremy, for seemingly two years, mourning. But, on his return to the stage, still touring with the man who put him on, he met his second wife and the rest is history.

Is A Sequel Possible?

All things considered, yes. Considering how gung-ho Jeremy was when it comes to Melissa, how he found himself able to love and Adrienne and how they deal with Melissa still being such a presence in their life is worth exploring. For losing someone you love so young is the kind of trauma that most can’t imagine and while there are depictions of it beyond this film, like in “Sorry For Your Loss,” that doesn’t really have a faith perspective. So it would have been nice to see Jeremy’s return to being able to romantically love another woman.

Likely only for the fan event

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