The Favorite parents guide

The Favorite Parent Guide

Sloppy theology and messy emotional soup keep this film from becoming a favorite with most viewers, Christian or not.

Overall B-

Benjamin Bernard is convinced that his brother, Luke, is their fathers favourite. Feeling neglected, Ben's fights with Luke continue to escalate until they reach a point of no return...

Release date September 13, 2019

Violence B-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A
Substance Use C

Why is The Favorite rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Favorite PG-13 for some thematic material, injury images and brief violence

Run Time: 108 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Ben Bernard (Luke Benjamin Bernard) has grown up in the shadow of his older brother, Luke (Matthew Fahey). Thanks to his father (John Schneider) forgetting him at the swimming pool as a child and his father’s conspicuous absence at his MMA fights as a young man, Ben believes that their father prefers Luke. But everything changes when Luke, Ben, and their girlfriends are involved in a serious car accident.

Before I launch into a description of the many problems plaguing The Favorite, you need to understand the movie’s backstory. The film was written by star Luke Benjamin Bernard, partially inspired by his experience surviving a car accident. While coming out of anesthesia from a cranioplasty surgery to repair his skull, he dreamed the story and then wrote it out over the course of a month. Whatever else I have to say, this is a pretty impressive achievement for a guy who couldn’t remember how to write his own name a few weeks before penning the screenplay.

That said, this movie is sloppy and borderline unwatchable and is possibly one of the worst Christian productions on the big screen. While it’s billed as a Christian-healing-power-of-prayer movie, all of that is overshadowed by the weird family drama. Not that the Christian aspect of the movie is particularly well handled: it peddles a theologically questionable belief that if prayer doesn’t give you what you want, having more people pray for the same thing will fix the problem. As if the omniscient, omnipotent deity you’re praying to was just waiting for some spiritual crowd-funding in order to grant your prayerful pleas… These movies would be far more compelling if any of the characters had to come to terms with the fact that not all prayers are answered according to their wishes and on their timelines. Beyond that, none of the characters are particularly sympathetic (with the possible exception of the mother) and navigating the emotional soup they’re wallowing in is both boring and unrewarding.

The writing is downright bizarre in places, with character motivations that are inconsistent and unexplained throughout. The religious scenes are completely different from the family drama scenes, and the lack of integration makes the transitions between the two very confusing. None of this is helped by the acting, which ranges from wooden to scene-chewing depending on the character and the scene.

On the bright side, the content is almost completely harmless, aside from a cautionary subplot about alcohol abuse, but this is just further proof (if proof were needed) that good content alone does not make good entertainment. Although I’m sure the real Luke Bernard feels his experience was miraculous, the only miracle I found was that the theatre I saw it in was empty, leaving me free to laugh out loud at the stranger scenes. If it’s any comfort, I did feel pretty guilty about laughing when I learned the story about how it was written. Not bad enough to stop laughing, but pretty bad all the same.

Directed by Curtis Graham. Starring John Schneider, Luke Benjamin Bernard, Matthew Fahey. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release September 13, 2019. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Favorite

The Favorite
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Favorite rated PG-13? The Favorite is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some thematic material, injury images and brief violence

Violence: There are several scenes featuring MMA fights. One scene depicts a serious car accident, in which one person is killed and others are shown injured. Two individuals are severely beaten.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An individual is shown drinking heavily to cope with personal problems. This is shown in a negative context.

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The Favorite Parents' Guide

What do you believe about God?  Do you believe in healing miracles? Have you or someone you know experienced a miracle? Do you believe that God hears and answers your prayers? Do you think God is more likely to grant requests if more people pray? Why or why not? What do you do when God doesn’t answer your prayers in the way or the time you would like? What do you see as the purpose of prayer if you don’t get what you want?

Have you ever had a discussion about religion about someone whose beliefs differ from yours? What did you learn from them?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

For a more family-relationship oriented movie, Fighting with my Family follows the true (ish) story of WWE wrestler Paige and her difficulty in adapting to pro-wrestling while navigating her complex relationship with her brothers.

If you’re looking for a better movie about the power of prayer and healing miracles, Breakthrough is a significant improvement over this film.