A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Like Dandelion Dust deals with mature themes: domestic abuse, alcoholism, and adoption. While most of the actual violence isn't shown on screen, the resulting injuries -- both physical and emotional -- are on display throughout (including a cowering wife, a father pushing and squeezing his son until he's bruised, etc.). A main character is an alcoholic struggling with sobriety; he smokes heavily, and, in at least one scene, he drinks until he's very drunk. The film is based on a novel by well-known Christian author Karen Kingsbury and has faith-oriented undertones.
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What's the story?
After Wendy Porter's (Mira Sorvino) alcoholic husband, Rip (Barry Pepper), goes to prison for assaulting her, she discovers that she's pregnant. Forging Rip's signature on adoption papers, she gives Joey away at birth. The Campbells (Cole Hauser and Kate Levering) are ideal parents for the little boy, and he's loved and well cared for. Seven years later, when Rip is released from prison -- seemingly rehabilitated and ready to start a family -- Wendy tells him about Joey and the forgery. The two decide to try to find their child and get him back. Given misleading evidence, the law sides with the Porters and awards custody of Joey to them. But the Campbells are unwilling to give up the child they've raised and loved since birth. Each family uses every resource at hand to keep Joey with them. Events escalate, at great risk to the welfare of the little boy -- and both families.
Is it any good?
LIKE DANDELION DUST is a film made with integrity, strong performances from the players, and an effort to avoid the cliches and treacly melodrama often associated with movies of this genre. It's even-handed through at least two-thirds of the story, until the filmmakers "stack the deck" somewhat so that one family or the other can end up with Joey. Though made by a Christian production company and based on a novel by a well-known Christian author, the film stresses the human and societal implications of the dilemma and its resolution rather than the religious.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about alcoholism and its effects on the families of the alcoholic. Do you think this movie portrays alcoholism accurately? What resources are available for families or kids affected by alcoholism in your community? Is teen drinking a problem where you live?
Characters in the movie end up breaking the law in order to do what they think is the right thing. Did they have to face consequences for their actions? Should they? Is there ever a good reason to break the law?
- In theaters: September 24, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: January 25, 2011
- Cast: Barry Pepper, Cole Hauser, Mira Sorvino
- Director: Jon Gunn
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic material, including domestic violence and alcohol abuse
For kids who love drama
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