Courageous (2011) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. With action, drama, and humor, the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures embraces God's promise to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers." Souls will be stirred, and hearts will be challenged to be ... courageous!

  • As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and their partners are confident and focused. They willingly stand up to the worst the world can offer. Yet when they take off their badges at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark. They know that God desires to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, but their children are beginning to drift further and further away from them. Will they be able to find a way to serve and protect those that are most dear to them? When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children? Courageous is the fourth release of Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia. Their first release since FIREPROOF, the No. 1 independent film of 2008, Courageous joins Facing the Giants and Flywheel in touching and impacting lives through heartfelt stories of faith and hope. Moviegoers will again find themselves crying, laughing, and cheering-sometimes simultaneously-as they are inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these law enforcement officers. Raising their children? That will take courage. Courageous ... honor begins at home.

  • From the writers of Fireproof and Facing the Giants comes a story about four law enforcement officers whose lives are deeply tested as they embrace their calling to serve and to protect. As crime fighters, they must face danger every day. Yet when tragedy hits close to home, they are left wrestling with their hopes, their faith, and their priorities as men. Like iron sharpening iron, the power of their friendship invites them to face their hidden struggles as fathers. It is out of this honesty that comes a life-altering decision. With action, drama, and humor, the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures embraces God's promise to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers". Your soul will be stirred and your heart will be challenged to be...Courageous!

  • When a tragedy strikes close to home, four police officers struggle with their faith and their roles as husbands and fathers; together they make a decision that will change all of their lives.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) is at a gas station in Albany, Georgia, trying to clean his windshield when his truck is stolen. Hayes runs after the truck, clinging to the side and fighting the thief through the open window. Hayes is then thrown from the truck and it crashes. The perpetrator escapes, and Hayes is shown in pain and struggling to get to his truck. Bystanders tell him not to worry about the vehicle but he opens the back door to reveal his infant son, crying in his car seat, apparently unharmed.

    After bystanders call an ambulance, the police also arrive. Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick) and Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes) meet Hayes, discovering he is a new deputy there, having recently moved.

    As the deputies meet, the sheriff encourages them to spend time with their families, citing research that shows fatherless children are several times more likely to get into trouble in life, including crime. Among his deputies is rookie David Thomson (Ben Davies). Mitchell adores his nine-year-old daughter, Emily, but is distant from his fifteen-year-old son, Dylan, because Mitchell doesn't share Dylan's interest in 5k runs. Hayes never knew his biological father, instead treating a neighbor as his father (even giving him Father's Day cards annually), but would risk his life to save his three children; however, his teenage daughter Jade (Taylor Hutcherson), resents him because he has a strict policy about dating. Fuller is divorced, as were his parents, and has joint custody of his son. Thomson is young and single.

    Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya), an immigrant struggling to provide for his family, is walking down an alley asking God what He wants him to do after being laid off when a construction company went over budget and Mitchell calls him over to help with his shed, thinking he is a different Javier that Mitchell's friends said would be there. After paying him for the job, Mitchell recommends him to a new full-time job, where he is hired. While this is happening, Derrick Freeman (David Howze), a teenager who Hayes had earlier disapproved of dating his daughter, joins a gang that deals with drugs.

    One tragic day, Emily is killed by a drunk driver, devastating Mitchell and his family. Following his daughter's death, Mitchell reads a lot about fatherhood in the Bible. He decides he must be a better father and crafts a detailed "Resolution" to honor God in every aspect of his family. Mitchell, Hayes, Fuller, Thomson, and Martinez join him in his resolution at a formal ceremony conducted by Hayes's neighborhood mentor, the man he thinks of as a father. Mitchell rebuilds a relationship with his son and receives some relief of his guilt at his daughter's death. Hayes mends his relationship with his daughter and presents her with a purity ring that he asks her to wear until she is married. He also visits the grave of his biological father who he had never met and forgives him. Fuller improves his relationship with his son. Thomson reveals that he fathered a child in college and deserted the mother after she refused to have an abortion. He writes the mother a letter seeking a relationship with his daughter and encloses some support money. Martinez's factory employer offers him a promotion on the condition that he falsify inventory documents. Martinez refuses, and his boss reveals that the request was a test of Martinez's integrity, with Martinez being the only one to pass. The boss promotes Martinez and gives him a raise.

    Mitchell discovers that his friend and police partner, Deputy Fuller, has been stealing drugs from police evidence to resell on the streets for the money. Mitchell decides he must honor his Resolution and report the corruption. He sets up a sting leading to Fuller's arrest and imprisonment. Mitchell visits Fuller in jail where Fuller takes responsibility for his actions and asks Mitchell to look after his son, which Mitchell agrees to do.

    During a minor traffic stop, Hayes and Thomson unknowingly confront the armed leader of a gang they have been repeatedly encountering. One of the gang members is Derrick, who stops the gang leader from shooting Hayes with a shotgun. The incident turns into a roadside gun battle, and the gang leader attempts to take a young girl hostage. Mitchell and other officers arrive as backup. The girl's father assists Hayes in subduing a suspect, and Mitchell assists in arresting a second suspect. When Deputy Hayes asks, Derrick attributes his reason for being involved with the gang to not having anyone who cares about him.

    At a Father's Day church service, the men present the Resolution and Mitchell urges the fathers in the congregation to be a Godly influence on their families. Mitchell runs in a 5K race with his son and Fuller's son. Hayes reads the Bible in prison with Derrick. Thomson meets his daughter for the first time. The film ends with a quote from Joshua 24:15: "Choose today whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

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