With Dove’s seal of approval, Freshman Year is a coming of age faith-based film about a college freshman named CJ (Diallo Thompson) and his new girlfriend Marcella (Natalia Dominguez) who both leave home for college, and a relationship blooms. CJ comes from a strict and protective Christian home. His life consists of strong moral choices, clean living, and loving his fellow man as he serves God and others. Marcella, on the other hand comes from a strict single-mother upbringing, where her older brother plays the father. Her relationship with Christ is yet to be discovered.

Being away from home for the first time, a new found freedom is placed in CJ’s lap. And the struggle with balancing his faith, dealing with peer pressure, and falling in love are all new territory. At first he has no problem with these things, but the more he becomes involved with Marcella the more his moral compass goes south. Then everything takes a downturn when Marcella becomes pregnant, and their battle to make difficult choices is one for which they are not prepared. CJ falls deeper into this pit of difficulty as he tries to juggle his grades, work a job, and stay on the basketball team to hide this from his parents. But he fell on all three points—his grades were falling, his job was suffering and the coach kicked him off the team; advising CJ to “come back next year” after he gets his life back on track.

It was really encouraging to see this couple’s parents support them despite the many disappointments. There should’ve been some dialog about the couple’s moral choices concerning the consequences of premarital sex. Although one of the consequences was apparent through Marcella’s pregnancy, I felt the probability of CJ sleeping with her, while drunk, was a great possibility. At this juncture the movie began to feel somewhat predictable.

With that being said, you will have to watch the movie to find out if they lived happily after or not. God’s message of grace and redemption is communicated throughout the film’s entirety. The storyline was very executed as displayed by the solid acting of a formidable cast. And older teens will appreciate the soundtrack.

Originally released in 2019, the film is 105 min. Age Group: 12+. Can be seen on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Director: Jude Okwudiafor Johnson.
Writers: Jude Okwudiafor JohnsonToby Osborne.
Stars: Diallo ThompsonNatalia Dominguez, Gregory Alan Williams, and Benjamin A. Onyango.

We give Freshman Year

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rhema International. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author and/or owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rhema International, 

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