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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this live-action/fantasy film focuses on the experiences of a teenage girl whose parents are having marital difficulties. The parents argue frequently about money and responsibility, often within earshot of the girl. One argument ends with the mother throwing a bowl of food at the father. The teen and her older sister discuss the possibility that their parents might divorce. The movie revolves around a legend that involves a slave and several scenes briefly show a man in chains who is eventually killed, though the murder is not explicitly shown. The teen gets into dangerous situations several times, though they resolve positively. During the climax of the film, the father's life is in serious danger.
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What's the story?
After her father loses his job, the family of 14-year-old Julie (Suzanne Marie Doyon) moves back to the father's hometown in coastal Oregon. While the mom and dad struggle with money and their relationship, the teenager becomes fascinated with a Native American legend that suggests a cache of hidden gold is buried on a nearby beach. The girl sees visions and hears voices that encourage her quest, and along with help from her father, grandfather, and a local Native American elder, she gets closer to finding the treasure than anyone else has. In the end, she learns the value of family and companionship trump gold.
Is it any good?
The fantasy elements in this film don't mesh well with the rest of the story, and it's sometimes hard to follow the story's chronology. The movie is based on a simple and satisfying premise -- a teen girl becomes obsessed with a legend and with some magical intervention, makes an important discovery, all while learning a greater lesson. But the poor production quality matched with odd directorial choices and abysmal acting make this a movie to skip unless very desperate. Actress Suzanne Marie Doyon, who plays the teen girl, exudes a sweet presence, but that's not enough to carry the entire movie. Her facial expressions barely change, whether she's talking to a magical elk or watching her father drown in the ocean. Also, the mother (Julie Campbell) comes off as completely unappealing. Her character could have been portrayed more complexly -- as a woman struggling with financial stress and the marital strain that comes with it -- but instead she seems petty, cruel, and obnoxious.
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