‘I Can Only Imagine’ is an inspiring and heartwarming film that delves into the true story behind the creation of the hit Christian song of the same name. Directed by Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin, the movie follows the life of Bart Millard, portrayed by J. Michael Finley, the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe. Bart’s tumultuous relationship with his abusive father, played by Dennis Quaid, forms the emotional core of the narrative.
The film explores Bart’s journey of forgiveness and healing as he draws on his painful past to write the chart-topping song that became an anthem of hope for many. The powerful performances, particularly by Finley and Quaid, contribute to the film’s emotional resonance. ‘I Can Only Imagine’ is a testament to the transformative power of faith and forgiveness, delivering a message that transcends religious boundaries. Released in 2018, the movie received positive reviews for its genuine portrayal of real-life struggles and the redemptive power of music. It offers a compelling narrative, backed by a stellar cast and a soundtrack that captures the essence of the uplifting story. Here are 8 movies like ‘I Can Only Imagine’ that strike the same chord.
8. The Ultimate Gift (2006)
Directed by Michael O. Sajbel, ‘The Ultimate Gift’ is a heartfelt drama featuring an ensemble cast including Drew Fuller, James Garner, and Abigail Breslin. The film revolves around Jason Stevens (Fuller), a wealthy young man who, after the death of his grandfather (Garner), expects a sizable inheritance. Instead, he is presented with a series of life-altering tasks that teach him about the true value of life, love, and selflessness. Much like ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘The Ultimate Gift’ explores themes of personal transformation, emphasizing the significance of spiritual and emotional growth through life’s challenges. Both films deliver powerful messages about the deeper aspects of humanity and the redemptive power of faith and love.
7. God’s Not Dead (2014)
Directed by Harold Cronk, ‘God’s Not Dead’ is a thought-provoking drama featuring Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, and David A.R. White. The film centers around Josh Wheaton, played by Harper, a college student who defends his Christian faith in a philosophy class led by an atheist professor, portrayed by Sorbo. Much like ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘God’s Not Dead’ taps into themes of faith and conviction. It confronts the challenges believers may encounter in secular settings and emphasizes the courage required to stand firm in one’s beliefs. The parallel lies in both films’ exploration of the resilience of faith amidst skepticism.
6. Miracles from Heaven (2016)
‘Miracles from Heaven‘ shares thematic similarities with ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ both exploring the transformative power of faith amidst adversity. Directed by Patricia Riggen, the film recounts the true story of Annabel Beam, a young girl with a life-threatening illness who experiences a miraculous healing. Starring Jennifer Garner as Annabel’s mother, the movie delves into the family’s journey of resilience, love, and the profound impact of their daughter’s extraordinary encounter with God. Like ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘Miracles from Heaven’ is a sacred exploration of spirituality, emphasizing the hope and strength that faith can bring in the face of life’s challenges.
5. Courageous (2011)
Alex Kendrick’s ‘Courageous’ parallels ‘I Can Only Imagine’ in its exploration of faith and personal growth. This Kendrick brothers’ film follows four law enforcement officers grappling with their roles as fathers, prompting them to make a commitment to be better parents. Similar to ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘Courageous’ delves into themes of redemption, family, and the transformative power of faith. The cast includes Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, and Kevin Downes, delivering powerful performances that resonate with the film’s emotionally charged narrative. Both movies inspire audiences to reflect on their values, emphasizing the impact of faith on individual lives and relationships.
4. Fireproof (2008)
For fans of ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘Fireproof’ serves as an excellent companion with its shared emphasis on faith and redemption. Another film directed by Alex Kendrick on the list, this drama stars Kirk Cameron as a firefighter navigating the challenges of a failing marriage. Much like the transformative journey in ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘Fireproof’ underscores the power of commitment, forgiveness, and the profound impact of faith on personal relationships. The film’s compelling narrative and heartfelt performances make it a resonant choice for those who appreciate the uplifting and inspirational qualities found in ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ creating a thematic bridge between the two films.
3. The Shack (2017)
‘The Shack‘ invites fans of ‘I Can Only Imagine’ into a deeply emotional and spiritually resonant cinematic experience. Directed by Stuart Hazeldine, this film, based on the bestselling novel, follows the journey of Mack Phillips, portrayed by Sam Worthington. Wrestling with grief after a family tragedy, Mack encounters a mysterious trio of characters who lead him to a transformative encounter with God. Much like ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘The Shack’ explores the problems of faith, forgiveness, and healing, offering a visually stunning and thought-provoking narrative. With outstanding performances, especially by Worthington, the film weaves a tapestry of hope and redemption, making it a strong choice for those seeking a powerful exploration of spirituality akin to the impact found in ‘I Can Only Imagine.’
2. War Room (2015)
Step into the empowering world of ‘War Room,’ a dynamic film directed by the Christian movie royalty Kendrick brothers, that resonates with the soul-stirring impact of ‘I Can Only Imagine.’ This film centers on Elizabeth Jordan, played by Priscilla Shirer, a woman seeking to save her marriage through the power of prayer. As she transforms her closet into a “war room” for spiritual battles, the film unfolds into a heartfelt journey of faith and resilience. With a stellar cast, including T.C. Stallings and Karen Abercrombie, ‘War Room’ weaves a convincing narrative of redemption and the transformative strength found in fervent prayer. Much like ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ it elevates the human spirit, emphasizing the extraordinary impact of faith on personal struggles and relationships.
1. Facing the Giants (2006)
Dive into the exhilarating world of ‘Facing the Giants,’ a cinematic gem that echoes the inspirational chords struck by ‘I Can Only Imagine.’ Directed by Alex Kendrick, this sports drama transcends the field, portraying a high school football coach, Grant Taylor, who faces seemingly insurmountable challenges. As Taylor discovers the power of faith and resilience, the film unfolds into a testament of unwavering belief. With remarkable performances and intense sports sequences, ‘Facing the Giants’ engrosses audiences with its uplifting narrative. For fans of ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ the film is a must-watch, delivering not only on the emotional depth of human struggle but also celebrating the triumph of faith against all odds.
Read More: Best Christian Movies