Approved for 12+


Although God has a way of guiding our STEPS in life in the right direction, in the end, the choice is ours to make. Brian Coleman must take charge of his own destiny, following the steps to love, recovery, redemption and forgiveness.

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Dove Review

Steps is real, poignant, at times funny. It allows a grittiness unfamiliar to many sanitized Christian movies that, for all their good intentions, come across as safe and hardly authentic.

If your movies must be free of cursing, drunkenness, street gangs, adultery and domestic violence, Steps will not be the movie you choose — even though all of those things are cast in a tragic, unfavorable light in this film. Instead, those things are tools that augment the overarching message of forgiveness, restoration and that, as the principal character Brian Coleman and the wheelchair-using unlikely friend Taji agree, “Life rolls on.”

Brian is convincingly portrayed by Rob Morgan, who has carved out quite an acting career playing gritty characters. Taji is played by Walter Fauntleroy, recognizable from Tyler Perry’s The Oval, multiple episodes of The Young and the Restless soap opera and even a couple of bartender roles on Grey’s Anatomy.

The film begins on the streets of Jersey City, N.J., in the immediate aftermath of Brian being shot, a pivotal moment that sends his life spiraling out of control into drunken homelessness that costs him his family, his career, dignity. After establishing that he’s lost his way, the movie fast-forwards 14 years into the future. This is where all that grittiness begins to serve a purpose.

The movie refuses to settle for Christianspeak clichés, even as a local pastor enters the scene as a positive influence. There is work, hard work, that must be done and pitfalls that must be faced — and to the movie’s credit, it shows that these things aren’t easily achieved. Even on the right path, you can stumble and relapse … but God’s grace, unseen and operating behind the scenes, still prevails. Even after many, many years, God’s grace endures.

And then, the movie makes forceful points about forgiving to be forgiven, which is as much a part of the Gospel as John 3:16. The movie shows real, hurtful sin that must be forgiven — but then again, so does the Bible on your coffee table, which contains all kinds of violence, rape, murder, even as its grand goal is to point us to Jesus Christ.

Owing to the more mature subject matter, the movie merits Dove approval for Ages 12+. That’s because one of the central characters having to deal with these real-life situations falling into his lap is a 14-year-old character named Omar. You might be doing your young teen a disservice by shielding them from the realities Omar faces.

The Dove Take:

Powerful, poignant movie with a great message that should not be missed by the gritty methods in which it pushes it forward.

Dove Rating Details


Potent message about forgiveness and the steps necessary to make it work overshadows everything else. A willingness to humble oneself, to confess wrongs, can't be missed.


Men get shot ... another man gets nearly choked to death; a man in a wheelchair gets beaten at what started out as a party.; a man brandishes a baseball bat as a gang prepares to "jump in" a young teen.


One character cheats on his fianceé; another character gets a lap dance at a party.


Ass, hell, damn. A pastor refers to the "F-word" while counseling a woman. He meant "forgiveness." The woman replies, "You know, I thought you were talking about a different F-word."


Men get shot ... another man gets nearly choked to death; a man in a wheelchair gets beaten at what started out as a party.; a man brandishes a baseball bat as a gang prepares to "jump in" a young teen.


Brian lives for a while as a homeless drunk, who haggles with a store owner over 75 cents; man gets graphically drunk and vomits on himself; Omar tries to buy marijuana




Some are sure to dislike an openly gay character who calls himself "Black Jaguar." Others call him Rudy. He's not involved in any intimate scenes, but professes that "my sexual orientation was influenced by a gene." A tangential point, but one the movie took time to make; interesting tidbit — Shaquille O'Neal is one of the executive producers behind this work, which includes Denzel Washington's wife, Pauletta, as a minor character.

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