When the text came last night saying the movie was on its way and would be in the mail box today we were all so excited. Of course we made immediate plans to get together to watch it. We started out with five but word spread we were having a viewing party and ended up with ten people watching.
I will say not one of us were let down by this movie even though we all had our doubts about a religion based movie. But this movie made some of us feel something we had been missing. Something we grew up with and needed back in our lives. Prayer. Something bigger than ourselves to believe in again.
At first I thought Pat Boone would doom this movie. Now I honestly can not imagine anyone else playing the part. He was perfect and the chemistry between him and the actors just made it seem so real and natural. Like he really was the grandpa. Not just some actor playing a part. And sorry but he is not as old as I thought he would be. He did an excellent job of showing what family unity and sticking together is all about.
Aiden Alexander and Troy Guiterrez both carried their roles like seasoned professionals and just fit. You know what I mean, like who ever cast these characters knew what they were doing, They all just fit. Made it more real. I hope to see Bailee and Chloe work together again. They compliment each other well and seem like a natural fit.
At first I thought well it is not normal for that many kids to lose a parent in the war but then Dawn reminded me that they likely lived in a military town. Since she is an air force brat herself she picks up on these things faster than I would. And it is true if you live near a military base there are going to be a lot of families going through exactly what you go through. One or both parents always missing from your life and sometimes they do not come home.
Timothy Armstrong did a beautiful job of showing what it really is like for military kids in this movie. I do not understand why it did not go to theaters and we all agree it should have. It would have been a major contender for awards. There was no cheapness to this movie that you can tell by the video. It seemed well planned out and beautiful scenery so why video? I am glad it is out and really don’t care how but feel like every single person who acted in this movie deserves recognition.
First let me say don’t even think you will not tear up or even cry. If you have a heart in your chest you will cry. When these kids show their true raw emotion over losing a parent it makes you so glad you can go home at night and hug your own. Not all in our group can do that. And without calling names several of our group of friends have lost a parent. And one of them lost in war. But that will be up to them if they want to write about how this movie made them feel.
The story line carries nicely and kept our attention. no one left the room for snacks or anything during the movie. I don’t think anyone even spoke during it. We were captivated.
Of course Bailee Madison does her usual fantastic acting job but one thing we most agreed on was that is hard to watch her transition from the kid to being older. She just seems like the same Bailee to us. The ugly crying scene was pretty good though. Bailee plays Dusty Rhodes whose mother is away at war and her father gets shipped out but is right back immediately because he was wounded and now her mother is missing. She turned to her love of horses to stay busy and turned some troubled kids lives around to join her in forming a drill team. I realize the movie had to be a certain length but there seemed to be major portions missing to explain things. Like how long was he gone before he was hurt and came back because in the movie it seemed like overnight. How long was her mother missing?
Then comes Chloe Lukasiak who we all knew could act from her role on center stage but seeing her play a troubled kid with a goth look was hard to bite into at first. Then Chloe sold the role. Not a role I hope sticks to her but she sold this one. Her father has been killed in the war and her mother has turned to drinking to cope. Chloes role as Savannah was perfect. She tried to hide the truth from everyone of what she was going through but sometimes when you have no other family to fall back on things happen to families that are not what they expect. Savannah and her mother lose their home because they can not afford to live like they could when her father was alive. Not only is her father dead but she loses her mother to drinking and acts out. They say she spent time in Juvie but never went into it much. There are hints that the townspeople look down on them which was a flaw in the writing because most military families stick together and lift each other up not tear them down.
For those who say it is not real to see teens sitting on bleachers drinking at school. Where have you been? It is not only very real it is happening in more and more schools likely a lot more than you want to accept. Not only on bleachers but in parking lots, at lockers, in bathrooms and yes, even in classrooms. Kids today carry flask to school. I wish the movie had covered more of this issue because drinking alcohol is a major problem for kids today. It should not be ignored by saying you don’t think it happens because it does.
I thought the movie was going to be an extension of Cowgirls and Angels and Bailees character would show what happened after her father came back in her life. It has no connection at all to the first movie. It in my opinion is much better.
Some are saying this is a feel good movie. A support your troops movie. A religious movie. To me this is a movie that shows how people should act toward each other. Do not judge people going through hard times rather lift them up. Do not ignore someone who has lost their husband and turned to self medication instead get in there and help them survive it.
I don’t want to write to much on what was going on in the movie since this is the first day it is out and many have still not seen it but I will tell you this. Do not miss seeing this one. Our watch group ranged in ages from 14 years to 52 years old. Every single one of us came away with a different feeling of what we have let go and need to get back to. Maybe it is being a better neighbor , maybe it is getting away from your faith and finding it again, maybe it is being a better friend or ignoring bullying when you see it. But everyone who watches this movie should do so with an open mind of what you let go in your life and need back in it and then make sure to follow through with getting it back. You will be happier when you do. The world we live in today is in sad shape. Very sad shape. This movie shows you it can be better if you all work together and support one another with love and kindness.
I hope you will see it. Grab a box of tissues because you will need them.
Excellent job by all. It would be great if Hallmark or some one would pick this up as a weekly series because it came real close to showing real life today as many know it.