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Jeremy Camp is an incredibly popular Christian singer-songwriter who has made four gold records, been nominated for three American Music Awards, won five GMA Dove Awards and been nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.
Now, at only 42 years of age, he’s about to get something that few living musicians who are not Elton John get: His very own biographical drama. I STILL BELIEVE is based on a deeply personal moment in Camp’s life, but the specificity of the story will undoubtedly speak to countless audiences. (Note: We won't spoil elements of the movie, but we will talk about Camp's life as we talk about the story's journey to the big screen.)
[Image credit: Lionsgate]
As the trailer for I STILL BELIEVE suggests, this is a romance with tragic underpinnings, all taken from Camp’s real life. When the musician (played by KJ Apa in the film) was a young man, he fell in love with his soon-to-be wife Melissa Lynn Henning (played by Britt Robertson from TOMORROWLAND).
They have a whirlwind romance that soon becomes very serious, much to the chagrin of Jeremy’s parents. (They’re played, amazingly, by Gary Sinise and Shania Twain.) But the couple’s bond is unbreakable, and soon they embark on a whirlwind romance that develops into marriage. Marriage is work and can be hard for anyone — even the young, attractive, and talented — and their union is soon put to the ultimate test.
During their courtship, Melissa Lynn is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The pair go ahead with their marriage, knowing that she could potentially never recover. Then, on their honeymoon, even more devastating news arrived. We won’t specify what happened, and if you don’t want to have the ending of the movie spoiled, don’t read about Camp’s actual life. It is heavy.
As the trailer makes abundantly clear, this is a movie about commitment, in several ways. By being open about their struggle, Camp helped others who faced similar hardships connect with something larger. This is also a romance with the power to make even the most jaded viewer feel hope; the love story and the bond these two people formed is that strong. At such a young age, too!
I STILL BELIEVE is also a spiritual sequel of sorts (pun very much intended) to the movie I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, from 2018. That film turned the highest-selling Christian pop song of all time, by Oklahoma-based band MercyMe, into an inspirational, biographical drama. The movie became a blockbuster, exceeding all expectations.
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE followed MercyMe’s lead singer and his relationship with his father, played in the film by Dennis Quaid. The filmmakers, Andrew and Jon Erwin, founded a company they compared to a “Christian Marvel Studios,” where multiple films could be worked on simultaneously. They signed a pact with Lionsgate following the surprise success of I CAN ONLY IMAGINE. Their ambitions seem to be working out, with two films that share similar sensibilities and the same uplifting message without being direct sequels. Their brand is being solidified, though, and with I STILL BELIEVE you’ll know what to expect when you buy a ticket: it will be romantic, sure, but it will also be deeply dramatic and spiritual.
All images courtesy of Lionsgate.
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