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Parents' Guide to

Hope Ranch

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Sincere, unoriginal faith-based story about grief and hope.

Movie NR 2020 85 minutes
Hope Ranch Poster Image

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Filled with heartfelt, time-tested homilies and religious principles, this well-intentioned movie struggles to make the story a solid example of the messages it delivers. The performances are fine; John Schneider is particularly at ease and natural in his idealized role. There are sumptuous visuals of the pastoral ranch setting. Small-town citizens and an inspired preacher work miracles in Hope Ranch.

However, there's a significant problem with the way both Becky's character and her story arc are written, and it's no fault of Marisa Brown, the actress. Likable, compassionate, and loyal Becky may be, but resourceful she is not. Rather, she's a throw-back to the damsel-in-distress of the past. Charged by the pastor (and her husband in flashbacks) to rely upon hope and faith, Becky is also charged with making an effort to help herself. When her only actions -- selling their simple household goods and one pet horse -- don't raise enough money, she's done. An especially thoughtless venture is selling Grace's horse when she knows it won't matter. But it makes for a dramatic moment, so she does it. Even when she gets a temporary reprieve, she's devoid of any constructive ideas for the future. Grace's turnaround isn't grounded either. Along with her mother's minimal attempts, it's simplistic, lazy storytelling that hurts what have been an inspiring, though familiar, movie experience.

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