A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that God Bless the Broken Road is a Christian drama about the challenge of maintaining your faith when life isn't going well. It centers on a grieving military widow (Lindsay Pulsipher) who's struggling to make ends meet and stay connected to her daughter. While there's no iffy content related to profanity, sex, or substance use, it explores mature themes/topics including grief, dealing with banks and foreclosure, payday loans with high interest, and the main character's anger at God. There are also scenes of war violence that include missile launchers and gunfire. Two military members are seriously or fatally injured as a result; the sequence isn't gory but is intense and frightening and may be particularly affecting for viewers who have loved ones in the armed forces. Family conflict results in a young girl running away from home, which is depicted as serious and concerning but concludes with a laugh. The film explores dating again after the loss of a spouse, but the budding romance doesn't get physical in any way. The only lust shown in the film is that for NASCAR, with many racing scenes (including a serious crash) and brand sponsorships plastered everywhere. As the movie is intended for a Christian audience, it revolves around church, gospel songs, and Sunday school lessons; there are also clear messages about the importance of perseverance and taking time to appreciate life's blessings.
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What's the story?
In GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD, Amber Hill (Lindsay Pulsipher) loves leading the church choir. But after her husband, Daniel (Liam Matthews), is killed while serving in Afghanistan, Amber pushes everyone away, especially God. Two years after Daniel's death, Amber works tirelessly to keep the family financially afloat, but it's not enough, and she's in danger of losing the only thing she and her daughter, Bree (Makenzie Moss), have left: their home. While bills continue to mount and Amber's mother-in-law (Kim Delaney) is a constant thorn in her side, Amber and Bree rediscover the lighter, fun side of life when they start spending time with a visiting race car driver (Andrew Walker).
Is it any good?
This faith-based drama weaves a story that combines God, the military, small-town life, country music, and NASCAR; if it seems like it's pandering to a specific audience, it is. That's because God Bless the Broken Road (which comes from God's Not Dead writer-director Harold Cronk) isn't about recruitment or inspiring debate -- it's serving up a movie to an audience that's not likely to see movies that don't have those elements. The movie's many messages aren't hard to miss; they're declared clearly within the dialogue, usually a few times. But the film's purpose -- to show how "the broken road" is actually a blessing in Amber's life -- may be fuzzy to all except the target audience.
Production values are solid, and the film comes off like a Hallmark movie in every way, including casting frequent Hallmark player Walker in the role of Amber's respectful gentleman caller. Familiar faces pop up playing smaller, supporting characters -- including Kim Delaney and Robin Givens (both give total pro performances), as well as American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, former NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, and stock car racer Cody Coughlin. But it's Pulsipher who capably carries the film, making every viewer an empathetic companion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sacrifices made by members of the military and their families. Does God Bless the Broken Road make you more empathetic to the challenges faced by the families of those serving our country?
The film suggests that people "put love into action." Which characters exemplify that? What does that mean to you?
At the end of the film, the title song "God Bless the Broken Road" is performed. What do you think the song means in relation to the movie?
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