Movie review of “War Room”: This engaging entry in the faith-based genre has fiery convictions that make it interesting, but it also has long speeches about Jesus and Satan that stop the story all together. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.

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A Christian faith-based drama with fire, good performances and a nice luster to its look and feel, “War Room” is an engaging film that derails itself only when the story occasionally stops for protracted preaching.

Anchored by strong acting and assured if unremarkable direction, “War Room” finds real-estate agent, wife and mom Elizabeth (Priscilla C. Shirer) feeling alienated from her husband, Tony (T.C. Stallings), a traveling salesman with a chip on his shoulder and a wandering eye for other ladies.

When Elizabeth gets the listing on a house owned by feisty widow Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), she finds herself on the receiving end of the voluble senior’s accrued wisdom about turning one’s life over to Jesus. What’s interesting about “War Room” is that Clara isn’t speaking in platitudes, but rather with the intensity of a warrior cultivating a fighting passion in Elizabeth.

Movie Review ★★½  

‘War Room,’ with Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie. Directed by Alex Kendrick, from a screenplay by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. 120 minutes. Rated PG for thematic elements. Several theaters.

The need, Clara says, is not to expect Tony to change, but to get out of the way of the grace required to see he can be a better man.

That’s pretty good advice, but behind it is writing-directing team Alex and Stephen Kendrick’s frenzied vision of ascetic prayer sessions set in closets (the titular war rooms) and explosive condemnations of Satan.

When Elizabeth stands on her front lawn loudly warning an unseen devil to stay away from her home, “War Room” becomes the sum of feverish convictions.

By contrast, Clara’s speeches go on far too long, unnecessarily halting action. This is a general problem in the faith-based genre: stopping a movie to make a point. It’s something filmmakers have to improve.