All Roads Lead Home

Movie review by
Nancy Davis Kho, Common Sense Media
All Roads Lead Home Movie Poster Image
Choppy, conflicting story of a grieving animal lover.
  • PG
  • 2008
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages both against animal euthanasia and for merciful human euthanasia; conflicting discussions of the role of farm animals. A girl and her grandpa, both suffering the loss of the girl's mother, come together to comfort each other, boxing out the girl's father in the process (though, to be fair, he doesn't seem to mind.)


None shown graphically, but allusions to car crashes, dog autopsies, a dog attack, and drowning unwanted puppies.


Long-term flirtation between two adult characters obviously meant to be together culminates only in handholding and a sweet kiss or two.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the heroine's mother is killed (off screen) in a bad car accident in which the girl is a passenger. The girl becomes withdrawn and is sent to live with an apparently alcoholic grandfather because she can no longer stand her well-meaning, kind father. The movie confronts the idea of animal euthanasia repeatedly, with subplots of tainted animal feed, puppies consigned to drowning due to bad bloodlines, and a surreptitious no-kill animal shelter. A child releases all the dogs in a shelter, and as a consequence one is hit by a car while another inflicts a bite on a human.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycorbamite April 10, 2011

Standing by your convictions

This is a must see movie for all. The central issue of "Right to Life" rises above situational ethics, government policies, no funding and short staff... Continue reading
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe October 27, 2010
This movie can be very confusing for kids, there are mixed messages about euthanasia....but other than that this is a heartwarming movie! The plot really isn... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 21, 2011


the most depressing story i have ever heard of!!!!! It scarred me and my friends eternally. THE ENDING ISNT EVEN HAPPY!!!! We're just eleven and twelve yea... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 17, 2010
LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's the story?

ALL ROADS LEAD TO HOME, a film inspired by a true story, seems like it will be a formulaic coming-of-age story for a child whose mother suffers a sudden and tragic death. Belle (Vivien Cardone) is an animal lover who becomes withdrawn from her family after the car crash that kills her mother, repelling repeated attempts by her father (Jason London) to reach her. He eventually sends her to live with her gruff maternal grandfather Hock (Peter Coyote) on his horse farm, where he too is coping with his sorrows. Belle's opposition to animal euthanasia cause her to tangle both with her father, the town dog catcher; his love interest, the town vet (Vanessa Branch,) and her grandfather and his cowboy staff. Untangling complicated plot threads gives Belle plenty of opportunity to emerge from her shell.

Is it any good?

Even for a movie originally made for television, the editing in All Roads Lead Home is choppy and distracts from the story. So many subplots emerge – the vet's efforts to identify the mysterious cause of death for her patients, the dog catcher's attempts to save his charges from the inevitable end at the shelter, Belle's stop-and-start friendship with farmworker Basham (Evan Parke,) that it seems like the story will never wrap up in two hours. Weird dialogue doesn't help – when a hotel owner says "It rained like God was wetting his pants" and Basham cautions that a risky maneuver will have a character "crossing the Jordan on a Jetski" the folksy vibe just goes off the rails.

Perhaps more confusing is the movie's message – is it for or against animal euthanasia? Belle is an animal lover, but when a dog appears to have attacked another character for no reason and must be put down, it is Belle who makes the noble decision to end its life. In the next scene, the characters are celebrating the opening of a no-kill animal shelter. Similar contradictions make a movie that could be wholesome family fare a little dark and confusing instead.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the message of this movie. Is it pro-animal rights or anti? What are the different ways to value a domestic pet vs. a farm animal? If you haven't read "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, this movie's many references to the story gives you a good reason to open it.

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