Friday night Hubby and I went to the 9:55 pm opening night showing of the movie, Where Hope Grows. This was unlike most opening nights of lines crowding the theater doors, the mad rush to then find the perfect seats, and the we’re-all-in-this-together feeling that opening night tends to bring to an audience. For the span of two hours they are bonded simply due to the fact that they all needed to see this movie so desperately they ventured the wildness of opening night.
We found ourselves entering an end of the hall theater with seating for movies on their way to DVD in a week or so. To top it off the theater was empty. During the commercials, we were joined by three other couples bringing the audience count to a whopping eight viewers.
Opening night? This can’t be.
Or can it?
Allow me to clarify something. Where Hope Grows is an independent film.
One that I wasn’t going to miss.
Kristoffer Polaha plays Calvin Campbell, a retired baseball player who fits the stereotypical ex-ball player role. He is a single father, in need of a job, and day by day giving into the vice of alcoholism. Enter our protagonist, Produce, played by David DeSanctis. Though we are given no explanation to how he obtained the name Produce (other than the fact that he works in the produce section of the local grocery store), we meet Produce after learning a little of Calvin Campbell's background. Campbell takes an interest in Produce because Produce is different.
Produce has Down syndrome.
Aha, now you see why this was a must see movie for me. Hopefully by the end of this post it will be a must see movie for you as well.
Though there were the usual tones of an independent film, i.e.: ‘B’ level actors including Billy Zabka and Brooke Burns, Christian themes, and a not so complex story line; Where Hope Grows was actually a charming film that engaged and entertained throughout. I knew it had been a decent movie when afterwards Hubby shrugged to my question of, “So was it that bad?” and said, “I liked it”.
This man doesn’t hold back criticisms so I knew it meant the movie had been worthwhile.
The Christian themes were weaved in so subtly that it didn’t, as most Christian films unfortunately do, make me want to cover my head in embarrassment. Christianity was presented in the way it should be, not in a ‘shove it down your throat’ manner, but in a ‘here it is, it could do you some good’ way.
Most importantly, this movie does an excellent portrayal of people with Down syndrome. Produce reflects all that makes people with Down syndrome wonderful. His optimism, loving nature, loyalty, protectiveness, and giving spirit are performed with such sincerity and perfection by DeSanctis.
I laughed several times, as did the rest of our humble audience, when Produce exhibited typical behaviors related to individuals with Down syndrome. In that moment, I’m sure we all were thinking of the person in our lives that had influenced our movie choice that night.
All in all, it was a film that did exactly what it set out to do. The world needs to know more about people with Down syndrome. The world needs to learn their value. This movie does an excellent job at getting the conversation started.
For more information, visit http://wherehopegrowsmovie.com/ where you can find theater listings and much more.