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.