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Watch This Review

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Movie Review

Liam Page had it all in his quiet hometown of St. Augustine, Louisiana: the admiration, the talent, the girl. Until one sunny afternoon he left his high school sweetheart at the altar, and everything changed.

Now, almost a decade later, the funeral of a close friend finds Liam, a popular country musician, back in the same small town from which he mysteriously fled. This time he can't run away.

Brokenness and despair land Liam on the doorstep of his childhood home where he must face his pastor father, the love of his life and the daughter he never knew he had. But the road to redemption is never easy. And Liam soon learns that no amount of fame can erase the memory of what he's done or the past he's been running from his entire life.

Positive Elements

Every day, Liam listens to a message from Josie (his childhood sweetheart), which reminds him of his past and ultimately forces him to confront all he's tried to leave behind. The message encourages Liam to hold on to love and hope, even in the hardest of times.

Liam wants to make amends for all the years that have passed since he left. He knows that it was wrong to leave Josie; and he wants to get to know his daughter, no matter the cost. What's more, Liam tells Josie that he knows he doesn't deserve a second chance. But he says that he will go at her pace and operate respectfully within the boundaries she sets. Gradually, we see Liam grow into a loving and fun father who truly wants to change and to build a solid relationship with his daughter; this in turn influences his music for the better.

Although Liam pushes his father away early on, his father made numerous attempts to reach out to him. His dad ultimately welcomes his returning prodigal back with open arms. And while Liam continually runs way from his problems, he learns to change those patterns in a way that leads toward healing by movie's end. He also demonstrates concrete expressions of love when he repairs his deceased mother's beloved rose garden and buys gifts for others.

Josie and her daughter, Billy, have a healthy and loving relationship, something that's evident in multiple scenes. Josie, for her part, also progresses as someone who is able to forgive and trust once again; Liam's father does the same.

Liam also learns what it means to function as an adult, which is a struggle for him as he's been handed everything from a young age; this shows the resilience and the common sense that he builds within himself to become a better man.

Josie eventually chooses to forgive Liam as well; the two get married and embark on a fresh journey with their daughter.

Spiritual Content

After he returns to St. Augustine, Liam's father preaches a sermon on forgiveness, telling his congregation that it's necessary even when it's profoundly difficult. He also says that God comforts those who are struggling with grief, quoting Psalm 34:18: "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted."

Billy, Liam's daughter, is the first to extend forgiveness to her father when she asks her mom to have him over for dinner. In this moment, we see the innocence of a child and her remarkable capacity to love and forgive without restraint.

The church building is the focal point of messages such as forgiveness and redemption; the church is where many characters go for resolution and peace; and the church is the setting for the movie's finale.

Sexual Content

After an emotionally draining night, Liam wakes up (shirtless and in boxers) in a bed that isn't his. He realizes he's slept with a groupie, and he frantically hurries to leave. She follows him down the hall in an oversized t-shirt, asking him to call later. Various other scenes also show Liam in his boxers.

Josie wears a skirt and shorts that are a tad short. And one dress sports a little cleavage and an open back.

During a romantic date, Liam and Josie slow dance (with his hand lingering on her lower back) and kiss; Liam fixes Josie's dress strap at the end of the night. The couple also share multiple, passionate kisses. Liam quickly learns that Josie was pregnant when he left her at the altar, though she never told him. Billy asks her father at one point, "Why'd you leave my mama?"

Josie's brother makes a pass at Liam's publicist, Doris.

Violent Content

Mason Belmont, a high school friend of Liam's, is killed by a drunk driver, leaving behind two young children and a wife. (We don't witness the accident, but we hear about it via the news.) Mason's funeral is held in Louisiana. At the funeral, Josie punches Liam in the stomach.

Liam has a bit of a temper. We see him punch a bar mirror and cut his hand at one point. In another scene, Billy asks her father, "You're not gonna kill me or anything, are you?" Elsewhere, little Billy worries that her pet rabbit "might bite me or scratch my eyes out." In one scene, Billy chokes on food, which causes a scare.

Liam's phone has to be repaired after a groupie jumps on it repeatedly. Josie and Liam discuss their mothers' deaths (including one of whom we hear was killed in a car accident).

Crude or Profane Language

The phrase "h--- yeah" is heard in a song. We hear the word "flippin,'" and someone is called an idiot."

Drug and Alcohol Content

One of Liam's hit songs includes a request to not "water down my whiskey." But that doesn't seem to be an issue in his life: Multiple scenes show Liam drinking and purchasing vodka (and asking for a bottle), as well as beer and other hard liquor.

Liam's father tried repeatedly in his past to tell him about his daughter, but Liam was always too intoxicated to receive that message. And even after he begins to turn a corner, Liam's still shown drinking quite a bit—a habit that seems as if it could eventually undermine his growing connection with Josie if it continues. Multiple scenes insinuate that Liam may still need alcohol to cope with his past and the hard emotions that follow.

Josie, for her part, pops open a beer with Liam; she also drinks wine which she says makes her feel "tipsy." And she mentions the possibility of drinking "too much champagne" in one scene.

Other characters drink beer and liquor at concerts and in various locations. Another one of Liam's songs references smoking.

Other Negative Elements

As mentioned, Liam's father is initially quite harsh with his son when Liam returns (though his dad does soften quite quickly).

Doris, Liam's publicist, wants him to use his friend's death manipulatively on social media. She tells him to take multiple photos of Mason's "dead corpse" so that he can talk about it online, thus giving his fans a "real" window into his life.

Conclusion

This film, based on the novel by Heidi McLaughlin, tells the story of a man who is transformed by the power of forgiveness, fatherhood and undeserving love. It's a story, as one character says, about "what you do after you mess up."

This message is shared with Liam at one of his lowest points, when he's been through the ringer and can't seem to get his head above water. And how true the statement is, that it isn't about how bad you've messed up, but rather what you do afterward.

The film illustrates why choosing to move forward is difficult. Namely, it requires forgiveness of yourself and those around you. But the story also shows us why that hard journey of redemption is worth it in the end. And along this same road, we find others who are likewise trying to make their way back home after bad decisions or amid difficult circumstances.

The film's admirable emphasis on forgiveness and redemption, however, is told within the context of a sometimes raw story that doesn't sugarcoat its protagonist's flaws. Liam tends to douse his cares in alcohol—a habit it's not completely clear he's relinquished even after he turns his life with Josie and Billy around.

For that reason, this tender tale's portrait of brokenness and emotional healing is more appropriate for older audiences than younger ones.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Alex Roe as Liam Page; Jessica Rothe as Josie; John Benjamin Hickey as Pastor Brian; Abby Ryder Fortson as Billy; Tyler Riggs as Jake; Peter Cambor as Sam and Gillian Vigman as Doris.

Director

Bethany Ashton Wolf ( )

Distributor

Roadside Attractions

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

January 19, 2018

On Video

April 24, 2018

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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