Based on the memoir of Christian music star Jeremy Camp (K. J. Apa), I Still Believe chronicles the singer’s whirlwind romance with Melissa Henning (Britt Robertson).
Jeremy, a musically-gifted student from a financially-strapped Indiana family, meets his hero, Jean-Luc La Joie (Nathan Parsons), within hours of arriving at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Southern California. Flattered and somewhat amused by Jeremy’s enthusiasm, the successful Christian rocker takes him under his wing.
Thrilled to have Jean-Luc as a mentor, Jeremy quickly absorbs all his advice and begins writing “love songs to God—mostly to God.” Jeremy also becomes smitten by Melissa, a special friend of Jean-Luc’s. A romantic triangle involving Jean-Luc, Jeremy, and Melissa takes up much of the first act. When the truth emerges, there are hurt feelings and awkwardness but no passionate or violent episodes.
The characters reconcile when Melissa is diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer.
At age twenty, Jeremy takes a semester off. He stands by Melissa throughout chemo, surgeries, public and private praying sessions, remission, and a beautiful beach wedding. In the third act, the cancer return, and Jeremy experiences a spiritual crisis.
I was most impressed by Apa’s performance. He did his own singing and playing of Jeremy Camp’s real-life compositions. My favorite: the title track, his tribute to Melissa.
I would have liked more scenes with Jeremy’s parents (Gary Sinise and Shania Twain). While Gary Sinise delivers one emotional father-and-son scene toward the end of the film, Shania Twain remains in the background. A long-time fan, I would have loved to hear her sing one song with Jeremy.
An appearance by the real-life Jeremy Camp, his second wife, and three children brought an effective end to the roller-coaster of emotions.
An uplifting film!