A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Ultimate Legacy is the third in a series of made-for-TV Hallmark movies that tell the stories of young men who must earn the grand inheritances left to them by estranged family members. The earlier two incarnations, The Ultimate Gift (2006) and The Ultimate Life (2013) found Jason Stevens dealing with the legacy left him by his grandfather (James Garner). This new story finds Jason helping another young man with a troubled past. It's Jason's turn to entrust the spiritual legacy he received to Joey. The film is infused with messages about forgiveness, appreciating life's gifts, using one's wealth to help others, and finding one's purpose. One moderately violent scenes shows young rowdies beating up the hero; he's kicked, bloodied. Other than that scene and references to past deaths (both violent and from natural causes), the movie has no offensive material and is okay for older tweens and teens.
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What's the story?
Like its predecessors, THE ULTIMATE LEGACY hopes that the prospects of receiving a great fortune will turn an angry, spoiled young man into a person of substance and compassion. Joey Anderson (Myko Olivier), a trust-fund kid, has long been estranged from his grandmother Sally May (Raquel Welch) and the vast family estate upon which he was raised. Anderson House is renowned for its grace, its commitment to philanthropy, as well as its commercial ventures. When Sally May learns she is dying, she orchestrates a plan that she hopes will facilitate Joey's return to the family and his rightful place. Joey is bright, multi-talented, but angry and bitter. When he finds out he must stay at Anderson House for a full year and satisfy a dozen "requirements" in order to receive his inheritance, he's even more furious. But with no other source of income, he agrees. He's to be coached and guided by a team of Sally May's lawyers, friends, and another young man who lived through the very same circumstances. As Sally May suspected, she's given Joey a lifeline, and in the course of his unexpected journey, he is faced with a final transformative challenge -- finding a way to reconcile the hurts from his past.
Is it any good?
This by-the-numbers sequel to two other similarly-themed TV movies is almost rescued by the strong presence of Myko Olivier, who brings heart and spirit to what might have been stereotypical role. With Bill Cobb and Brian Dennehy, among others, reprising their earlier featured characters, there are some stand-out moments. Overall, however, what little suspense there is forced, and a number of key players bring little to already-conventional parts. There's no denying the value of the sincere messages delivered in The Ultimate Legacy, but there's nothing new there either. Given all that, for folks who like fairy tales -- even with a young prince instead of a princess -- it's a harmless diversion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Ultimate Legacy as a sequel. If you haven't seen either of the other movies, did this story stand alone and feel satisfying to you? Were the filmmakers able to weave in the past so it wasn't confusing? If you have seen one or both of the others, did this movie feel special, or was it repetitive?
Were there any surprises in this movie? How early in the film did you know what the final outcome would be? Is this one of the occasions where the telling of the tale is fresh and/or interesting enough so it doesn't matter if it's predictable?
One of the film's most important concepts was using the word "gift" instead of "requirements" or "tasks" that were set before Joey as he sought to earn his inheritance. Did that notion ring true for you? How might acknowledging that "gratitude" or "learning" or "laughter" are GIFTS change your perspective about these values or actions?
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