I Still Believe
I Still Believe, new on home video, is based on the true story of Contemporary Christian Music artist Jeremy Camp’s relationship with Melissa Henning. It is a story of sacrificial love, disappointment, suffering, loss and hope. The film was directed by the Erwin Brothers, Andrew and Jon (I Can Only Imagine, Mom’s Night Out, October Baby). The film was written by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn (The Case for Christ).
The film opens at the Camp home in Lafayette, Indiana. Jeremy, played by K.J. Apa (Riverdale) is getting ready to leave for college, leaving behind his parents Tom, a pastor who drives a Pizza King car played by Oscar nominee Gary Sinese (Forrest Gump), and Terry, played by country music artist Shania Twain and his two younger brothers. They give him a beautiful new guitar just before he boards the bus for his California college.
On Jeremy’s first night on campus he attends a concert by Jean-Luc, played by Nathan Parsons (General Hospital). Jeremy sneaks backstage before the concert and introduces himself to the artist, and asks him for advice on how to “make it” in the music industry. This leads Jean-Luc to ask him to tune his guitar. That night, when bringing a guitar on stage, Jeremy sees Melissa Henning, played by Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland, The Space Between Us) in the audience. He seeks her out after the show.
Jean-Luc encourages Jeremy with his music, and helps him with his career, at the same time that Jeremy and Melissa begin to secretly date, because Melissa and Jean-Luc are good friends and Melissa senses that Jean-Luc wants it to be more, but she doesn’t want to hurt him. So, when Jeremy tells Melissa that he loves her, there is tension in the new relationship, which peaks when Jean-Luc sees Melissa and Jeremy kissing. Melissa then breaks things off with Jeremy who shortly after goes home to Indiana for Christmas break.
While Jeremy is home, he gets a call from Jean-Luc indicating that Melissa is sick. Jeremy then borrows his father’s car and drives to the hospital where it is determined that Melissa has stage three cancer. She is scared, but says that if one person’s life is changed by her story it will have been worth it.
Melissa tells Jeremy that she too loves him in the hospital, and they get engaged. She has chemotherapy treatments but the cancer continues to grow and spread to her ovaries. They pray for healing. She needs to have immediate surgery (a hysterectomy), and afterwards it is determined that Melissa is cancer free.
Six months later in October, 2000, Jeremy and Melissa are married. But on their honeymoon Melissa begins to feel pain again, and her fears are realized as it is confirmed that the cancer has returned. We see Melissa courageously battle cancer while Jeremy is with her every step of the way in the hospital.
Two years later, Jeremy tells Melissa’s story from the stage and meets someone who says that she is the one whose life was changed by Melissa’s story.
Themes in the film include sacrificial love, suffering, grief, doubt, prayer, courage and hope. There are no content concerns in the film, but given the nature of the film (suffering from cancer), the film would be best for early teens and above.
The acting in the film was solid, led by Apa (Jeremy), Robertson (Melissa) and Sinese (Jeremy’s father Tom). Throughout the film, we hear some of Jeremy Camp’s early music which is performed by Apa.
I Still Believe is based on the true love story of Jeremy Camp and Melissa Henning. Their story is one of courage and sacrificial love.