A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Daddy Is in Heaven is a film based on the book My Daddy Is in Heaven with Jesus by Rebecca Crownowner. Strongly Christian in its values and its messages, the film tracks a woman who loses both her faith and her moral compass when her husband is killed in a tragic accident. Viewers can expect some very sad moments. Sequences include the bloody aftermath of the accident, along with a bedside vigil and the man's on-camera death. Drinking and drunkenness are significant elements that move the plot, and the main character's behavior leads her to make numerous bad decisions. A sequence shows the woman confronted by a leering sexual predator and the beginnings of an assault. Spoiler alert: A second on-camera death is the result of a young man's drug use. Given the mature thematic material and scenes of extensive alcohol consumption and intoxication, this movie is best for teens and adults.
What's the story?
Becca Smith (Jenn Gotzon) is devastated when her beloved husband, Adam (Lane Garrison), is killed in an accident in MY DADDY IS IN HEAVEN. Though her supportive dad, Rick (Corbin Bernsen), and her young daughter, Acie (Riley St. John), look to her for strength and a return to some semblance of normalcy in the ensuing weeks, Becca has simply lost her bearings. And her faith. Furious at God and Jesus in whom she had always trusted, Becca leaves the family farm to spend some time with June (Jill Morrison), an old high school friend. June, now a "city girl," is proud of her "independent" life, a life that Becca now seems to long for, if only temporarily. New to June's world and very naive, Becca soon finds herself using alcohol and partying in a local bar to deaden her unbearable emotional pain. It takes a moment of heightened fear and self-loathing to force Becca to take a hard look at where she is, where she may soon find herself, and where she really belongs.
Is it any good?
An unsubtle, predictable story, this movie is an artless attempt to inspire faith-based audiences who deserve better. Saddled with on-the-nose dialogue and with a director who does nothing to protect them from their worst instincts, key actors give wholly "unrestrained" performances. Only Corbin Bernsen, a seasoned pro, and Riley St. John, a gifted young actress, escape. My Daddy Is in Heaven is an example of a well-intentioned film with a built-in, appreciative fan base that delivers little in the way of either entertainment or inspiration.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about "predictability" in a movie. At what point did you know exactly how My Daddy Is in Heaven would end? Was the story compelling enough to hold your interest even though you knew where it was headed? Why or why not?
How did the filmmakers justify Becca's changes in My Daddy Is in Heaven? It's clear that Adam's death caused Becca's renunciation of her faith. What scenes contributed to her regaining that faith? Were those story elements enough to justify Becca's return home?
Who is the intended audience for this movie? Do you think you have to be Christian to appreciate it? Why or why not?
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