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Because of Grácia (PG-13)

Drama 107 min. September 15, 2017
By Tatiana Craine
Director Tom Simes' Because of Gracia could be seen as a lesson for the impressionable, a glorified after-school special or a brilliant drinking game where the magic word that gets repeated to the point of hilarity is "Christian." The faith-fueled dramedy follows a handful of teens as they navigate the world of hormones and homework -- while bearing their own crosses, so to speak.

Instead of atheists portrayed as outcasts among a horde of suburban WASPs, here it's the Christians who are persecuted, high school-style. There are convoluted plans to sabotage a praying teacher and heated discussions about intelligent design vs. evolution. A debate teacher with atheist inclinations goes head to head with the new girl, a pretty Christian with a heart of gold and forgiveness who wins over the most anti-establishment students, save for a trio of scheming mean girls. Of course, there's also a horndog teen boy pressuring his girlfriend into going all the way. And despite the film's serious intentions -- it would like you to keep your pants zipped, naturally -- it's hard not to laugh at the earnest protest "But I'm a Christian!" during a tame makeout sesh.

The film, starring American Idol contestant Moriah Peters as the saccharine newbie Gracia, fails to portray different perspectives (i.e. non-Christian ones) as legitimate, and ultimately is little more than spiritual propaganda.
Tom Simes John Schneider, Ben Davies, Chris Massoglia, Moriah Peters, Masey McLain, Emma Elle Roberts Tom Simes ArtAffects Entertainment

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