Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty
abuse of alcohol / alcohol can poison your life and hurt your family
difficulty of living with panic attacks / anxiety attacks
challenge of raising a teenager daughter
experiencing the world through the eyes of another
importance of work and purpose
importance of family
finding new meaning and purpose in life
Down Syndrome (NDSS)
|Featuring:||Kerr Smith … Mitch Minniear
Danica McKellar … Susan Malcolm
Kristoffer Polaha … Calvin Campbell
William Zabka … Milton Malcolm
Brooke Burns … Amy Boone
McKaley Miller … Katie Campbell
Alan Powell … Franklin Weaver
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|Director:||Chris Dowling—“The Remaining” (screenplay)|
Stealth Tiger Entertainment
Attic Light Films
“An Unexpected Journey. An Unexpected Friendship.”
“Where Hope Grows” is a drama about a character named Calvin (Kristoffer Polaha), who was formerly a baseball player but was fired from his position and now struggles with alcoholism and cannot sustain a job. His teenage daughter Katie (McKaley Miller) is troubling him with her defiant attitude and insistence on dating a guy of poor character. However, in the midst of Calvin’s depressed personal life, he is inspired by a grocery store employee known as Produce (David DeSanctis). Produce has Down Syndrome, but he is enthusiastic and takes his job seriously. Calvin gains respect for Produce’s wholesome lifestyle and keen intellectual capabilities, and the two of them become friends. But what will it take for Calvin to have a turnaround in his life, and what role will Produce play?
“Where Hope Grows” is a faith-based movie, and for Christian audiences there could be both positive and negative elements. On one hand, there is sexual dialog, language, and alcohol use that gives the movie an edgy feel, at times. But, at the same time, the immoral behavior is definitively shown to be wrong. Also, as the movie progressed, I felt that I understood the characters” personalities very well. I appreciate that the movie does not show immoral behavior simply to say, “Here is how the non-Christian world lives.” Some unreligious characters are individually explored to show how they look at their own lives, what drives or motivates them, and what causes them to seek a new way of life.
Church is portrayed as a positive influence in the lives of Calvin and other characters. There is not much theological detail in the film, which is understandable, given that the movie was not meant to be Christian in a way that would exclude other audiences, so I would not criticize it for this, at all. However, given that the movie deals with addiction, a good post-viewing discussion point would be the Biblical basis for transformation in one’s life. Biblical themes such as spiritual rebirth (2nd Cor. 5:17) and deliverance from the inward sinful nature through Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans chapters 6-8) are relevant to the film’s story.
This movie left a positive impression on me, and I would recommend it, although I encourage viewer discretion for Christian audiences who may not be accustomed to seeing PG-13 movies.
Sexuality: There is talk of having sex, on multiple occasions, but the dialog is not graphic. Once, a teenage girl and boy are in bed together kissing. They are clothed, but the male intends for it to be a prelude to sexual intercourse, before the girl backs out. Later in the movie, the male attempts sexual assault, but is thwarted by a bystander.
Language: GD (1), G*d (2), pr*ck (2), and about six mild obscenities (two of them incomplete). About five uses of the words “retard” or “retarded” with regard to people with Down Syndrome, but the protagonist reprimands those who use such terminology. A teenage girl insults her father on multiple occasions, such as telling him that he is “hopeless.”
Alcohol Use: There is drinking throughout, mostly by an adult addict, sometimes leading to intoxication. A few instances of teenage drinking. An under-age character steals beer from a grocery store on one occasion.
Other: A few scenes of emergency medical operations in which a lot of blood is shown.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.