Movie Review: Believe Me

Movie Review: Believe Me

Do finances and faith intersect in a world of contrasting loyalties?

By Mark HadleyWednesday 24 Sep 2014MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

“Brothers, God may love you… but does He like you?”

Movie Review: Believe Me

– and what follows is a dramatic silence as Sam’s audience (and the audience of Believe Me) consider a question which is in essence the same one the serpent asked Eve in the Garden of Eden. But where Satan urged the mother of humanity to take matters into her own hands, Sam goes on to suggest that there is a sure fire way of being sure of God’s good graces: giving. 

Believe Me is about a group of college graduates struggling under mountains of debt. When Sam is confronted with an unexpected tuition bill he convinces his friends that their salvation lies in fleecing the faithful via a fake Christian charity. The gullible church crowds swallow the scam hook line and sinker, leading to Sam’s ‘God Squad’ gaining a national platform. Behind the curtain of Christian celebrity he discovers a world of fake enthusiasts and half-baked stars swimming in a sea of gullibility. 

The producers, Lascaux Films, have certainly done their homework. The Christian world is regularly rocked by scandals involving ministers who’ve become enamored of money. Even late night Australian television, Network Ten in particular, plays host to the overflow of Americans preaching a prosperity Gospel.

Ironically the producers even seem to be borrowing their techniques to independently market the film. Inspirational videos on Believe Me’s website show cast members encouraging listeners to donate their time and reap rewards for every eyeball gained.

There is no Australian release date for the film at present but their plan to simultaneously release the film via iTunes may overtake that need. Hollywood has already made millions out of religious charlatans – Leap of Faith and The Master to name two. But set aside the inevitable redemption narrative and the question remains, is Believe Me right? Has Christianity forged an unhealthy bond between faith and money?

Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by

The Bible certainly warns Christians about two things this film covers: that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil , and that in the last days false messiahs and prophets will take to the stage with all sorts of electric-light wonders, deceiving the elect if that were possible.  But I believe Believe Me is resting on an uncertain assumption. There certainly are poorly taught Christians who’ve been deceived into thinking their donations sway the hand of God. However you’d be the one being taken in if you came away thinking the massive amounts churches collect are the results of deception.

“Why do people give at charity events?” Sam asks his friends. “Because they want to help people,” Tyler responds. “Wrong! Because they want to feel like they’re helping people.”

This world struggles to believe anyone would consciously give away money, because money is its god and it worships it fervently. It doesn’t reckon on the truth that there is a real wisdom at play here.

Our riches cannot last and what Christians do is intentionally exchange this world’s baubles for riches in Heaven “where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”  From the outside of the Kingdom this will always look like foolishness. But, to quote a man who gave his very life for his Lord, Believe Me fails to understand:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” 

– Jim Elliot, martyred missionary in Ecuador, 1949.

Rating: M
Distributor: Headline Features
Release Date: September 26 on iTunes