Where Love Found Me

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Where Love Found Me Movie Poster Image
Faith-based adoption story has some violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 84 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Help others. Sometimes love sneaks up on you in unexpected places. Ends with strong messages about adoption and making a difference in a child's life, with footage of real participants in a summer camp for orphans and footage of actual adoptions. Some people interviewed mention religious reasons for caring about orphans and adopting. Some faith-based messages about seeking out those who are hurting instead of waiting for them to come to you, about remembering that we're not struggling against people but against powerful, often evil, institutions. Bad-guy gangsters caught and arrested in the end. Documentary and staged footage of orphaned infants in cribs with no mattresses mentions that they don't cry because no one comes when they do.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hudson is a good role model for wanting to make a difference, determination to see things through, and putting himself in danger in order to save others. He makes mistakes but eventually figures out how to remedy them. Rubilyn runs away from the harsh conditions at the orphanage and finds safety, companionship, and a worthwhile path to survival on the streets. Laz is the world-weary cop who wants to help but is overwhelmed by the seemingly never-changing realities of life on the streets. Hudson's wife Elena is mostly for support, although we learn that she's pursuing a Ph.D. Criminal gangs are seen as a necessary evil for maintaining order in the "fourth world" of extreme poverty, but they traffic in women and girls among other illegal activities. In the end they're caught by police. 

Violence

A father sells his tween daughter to a gangster. Human trafficking is shown when many women and girls are released from cargo-ship containers; sexual slavery is never mentioned. Gunshots heard, guns brandished, a drive-by shooting, and a point-blank shooting sometimes show bodies falling but very little blood and no gore. A girl is tied to a bed; it's unexplained but probably an attempt to prevent self-harm. Brief shots of blood from an injury, on an unresponsive shooting victim, on the face of a beating victim, and a bloody hand being bandaged. A beating with sound effects; action off-camera. Lots of scary action at night, in the dark, with fast camera work and dramatic, tense music. Brief scene of bullying in an orphanage. Harsh depictions of extreme poverty and life on the streets.

Sex

Becoming a prostitute as a probable outcome of living on the streets mentioned. Sex trade and human trafficking implied but not mentioned specifically when a girl is sold by her father and when many women and girls are freed from cargo-ship containers.

Language
Consumerism

The filmmakers promote their organization, Bring Me Hope, with real-life interviews of participants in their activities that promote international adoption. The organization's web address is shown at the end of the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A cop finds a small baggie of white powder on a suspect in handcuffs. Several mentions of street kids doing drugs, but no drug use is depicted. Bad guys smoke and occasional background action shows smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Where Love Found Me is based on real events and tells the story of a filmmaker who meets a recently orphaned girl and quickly decides to make her the focus of his project. Harsh realities of street life are depicted, with lots of dark, scary scenes, and gun violence is pervasive. Shootings and a beating are heard off-camera; afterward, we see victims with some blood but no other gore is shown. Human trafficking and the sex trade are implied but never mentioned. Several mentions of street kids doing drugs, but no drug use is depicted. There are some faith-based messages. At the end, the movie promotes the filmmakers' organization, Bring Me Hope, which promotes international adoption; some manipulative but moving footage of adoptions is shown. The group's web address is given, and a few interviewees mention the role their faith, and Christ in particular, plays in why they participate and how they and others benefit.

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What's the story?

In WHERE LOVE FOUND ME, filmmaker Hudson (Andrew Cheney) is riding along with a cop in the Philippines, looking for a compelling story he can hopefully sell to a TV network. Among the poorest of the poor he meets the recently orphaned Rubilyn, and without any better ideas takes her to an orphanage. Eventually his guilt about the harsh conditions there, and the encouragement of a network executive interested in "Ruby's" story, call him back to the orphanage to try and find her. But Ruby's already run away. Through dogged determination and a bit of luck, he manages to track Ruby down and starts filming her life with a group of orphaned street performers. As he gets to know Ruby and her friends, he begins to wonder what he can do to help them, and it's starting to look like making a documentary about her just won't be enough. Hudson and his wife's affections for Ruby grow deeper, but are they brave enough to take the biggest step of their, and Ruby's, lives?

Is it any good?

At its heart is a compelling story about an orphan who finds a family's love when it's least expected, but the movie doesn't quite deliver when it comes to connecting with the characters. In its eagerness to show international adoption in the best possible light, and to tug at the heartstrings in the face of overwhelming and dire need, Where Love Found Me provides a lot of food for thought for those in a position to help others, but as a movie the characters and story are often stilted or fall flat. Cutting to real footage of adoptions before the credits even roll undermines the movie as a story and feels manipulative at best, in spite of the intentions behind the message.

Mature themes, harsh realities, and some scary action make it best suited for teens and up who are ready to start asking what they can do to make the world a better place. Lots of issues are raised for those ready to take on themes like the white savior, poverty, adoption, and how to keep going in the face of overwhelming obstacles like crime and an uncaring society.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the faith-based messages in Where Love Found Me. Are the messages universal, or do they seem to be mostly for Christians? Why?

  • Do the depictions of violence and life on the streets serve a purpose here, or are they for entertainment? How much violence is OK to show, and does it make a difference depending on the filmmaker's message? Why?

  • Were you adopted, or do you know someone who is? Did this movie change your ideas or feelings about adoption? In what way?

Movie details

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