Parents' Guide to

A Father's Promise

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Heartfelt, emotional documentary about Sandy Hook activist.

Movie NR 2023 98 minutes
A Father's Promise Movie Poster: The top two-thirds of the poster consists of an old black-and-white photograph of a young Daniel kissing his father, Mark Barden, on the cheek, while Mark looks at the camera

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Moving story of love and hope!

A positive story of hope concerning the very difficult topic of gun violence in the USA. Tastefully done without any graphic violence, this film offers parents a comfortable way to start a conversation about the proliferation of gun violence.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

What this documentary, which is filled with heartfelt musical performances, lacks in style, it makes up for in sincerity and compassion. A Father's Promise paints a stirring picture of heartbreak and striving to carry on. The first thing you notice about the film are the images of Daniel, a wild-haired kid with a couple of missing teeth, forever captured full to the brim of life. It's hard not to fall in love with these images or to feel his family's genuine pain. It's also impossible not to admire Mark, who's truly a man of principle. We see him showing up for dozens of personal appearances and speeches, often tearful, standing next to Presidents Obama and Biden and in a crowd with Martin Luther King Jr.'s offspring. And when the movie covers the 2022 trial of right-wing radio host Alex Jones -- who was sentenced to pay $1 billion in damages for lying to his listeners about the Sandy Hook shootings -- and Jones gloats that "they will never see the money," Mark says, "we don't care about the money." And we believe him, totally.

The filmmakers' choice to present the material in the context of music is a powerful one, as the movie's selection of rootsy/bluesy/folksy/country tunes helps the material seem less heavy and more human. By the time A Father's Promise ends, it becomes abundantly clear that the problem of mass shootings is solvable, even if the grief they've caused remains.

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