The Lost Husband

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
The Lost Husband Movie Poster Image
Romantic drama about loss has farm charm; smoking.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes of resilience and gratitude. To find your identity, look in unexpected places. Promotes getting back to basics rather than material wealth. That said, film also questions public school policies and value of college education. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

While dealing with emotional and financial hardship, Libby puts one foot in front of the other to get her family's life back on track. When discussing neglect she endured as a child, she doesn't dwell on it. O'Connor is a stand-up guy. 


Bullying is a theme, rearing its head in typical ways and other mean/selfish behavior. Preteen is in a couple of physical altercations with a bully; she faces consequences. 


Kissing. Veiled innuendo. Character referred to as "hot." Past marital relationships discussed. A slow-burn romance is the B story; it doesn't come to fruition until the end.


Older character says "chicken s--t" and "a--hole." A tween tells her parent that she told a bully to "back the 'eff' off"; there are consequences for her word choice.


A party scene inside a bar/barn has neon beer and oil signs as decor, including Lone Star beer and Texaco. Libby orders a Tecate beer and is handed a can with the label out.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Older, unlikable character is a smoker. Adult characters drink wine and beer in social and bonding situations.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Lost Husband is a romance, but it's more focused on learning how to move forward after loss. Main character Libby (Leslie Bibb) has to discover who she is now that she's no longer a wife and being a stay-at-home mom is no longer a possibility. The story is told through her eyes, but a bit of her children's emotional pain related to losing their dad is also felt. Her daughter is bullied at her new school, and the best way of handling that is debated: Should you fight back or use words? If the latter, what are the appropriate words to use? The school's principal, who enforces the zero-tolerance policy, is made out to be the bad guy. Characters also debate whether college is worth the expense. An unlikable character smokes, and adult characters drink. But overall iffy content is limited. Two curse words are used in the same breath ("chicken s--t," "a--hole"), and there are a couple of kisses and a moment of innuendo in which it's implied that a couple is "making cheese."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnn Perev September 4, 2020

I love this movie

It's a cute country movie and has a beautiful story!
Adult Written byNylesGerard August 12, 2020

Lifetime-y Film Regurgitates Tired Storyline

The film tries to distinguish itself from its predecessors, but its attempts end up inadvertently promulgating over-used and, dare I say, problematic characters... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Based on the novel by Katherine Center, THE LOST HUSBAND follows recently widowed Libby (Leslie Bibb) as she sets out to rebuild a new life for her family on her aunt's goat farm. Farm life is more challenging and mysterious than she expects, including having to take orders from hardened, unsympathetic farm manager James O'Connor (Josh Duhamel).

Is it any good?

This is a solid, enjoyable romantic drama that isn't geared toward kids but is fairly family-friendly. At first glance, writer-director Vicky Wight's second feature seems to display all the signs of a Hallmark movie. But The Lost Husband is well beyond that, boasting solid acting, a twisty storyline, a phenomenal soundtrack, and a romance that's about completely letting go of the one you loved before getting involved with someone else. It's unpredictable and yet relatable from the get-go: An upper-middle-class but broke widow escapes her self-absorbed mother's control to go start anew at her estranged aunt's goat farm, where she's expected to do lots of backbreaking work. At the crack of dawn. All day. When Duhamel breezes in, you know instantly that his O'Connor is the love interest (or "hot farmer," as the female locals call him), but things are more frosty than frisky. And while you know all along how things are going to end, it takes a long time to get there.

The movie is politically aware and yet simultaneously politically ambiguous. It takes place in Texas, but it's made clear that Aunt Jean is a "hippie liberal farmer" (a stellar turn by Nora Dunn). And her boyfriend is a "conservative lawyer and entrepreneur." O'Connor covers his truck with message bumper stickers, argues against college, and teaches kids who aren't his own to take on a bully with a jab to the solar plexus. Libby demurs on identifying her political stance, but she locks horns with the public school principal on zero-tolerance policies -- something that many parents will relate to, but perhaps isn't the best attitude to demonstrate for kids when respect for authority is crucial. The music is also an unexpected delight, mixing forgotten favorites with songs by one of Austin's favorite musicians, Bob Schneider, that will be new to most. The film is really Libby's journey of self-discovery, like Eat Pray Love on a budget, and the romance is just the well-deserved icing on the cake. While The Lost Husband isn't going to blow you away -- it's entertaining but not amazing -- it should be recognized for not falling into the trap of many films categorized under romance: It's not "syrupy" or "saccharine." Perhaps, it is "agave" -- a slightly healthier sweet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea of "survivor's remorse." How does Libby express that? 

  • "Life isn't fair" is an expression we hear a lot -- but so is "the tougher the challenge, the greater the reward." How does Libby's story demonstrate that? Why is resilience an important life skill?

  • The characters debate how to deal with a bully. What's your opinion?

  • Libby expresses gratitude regularly. Why is gratitude beneficial to both the giver and the receiver? 

  • Does the movie glamorize smoking or drinking?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love resilience and romance

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate