What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wilderness Love contains some brief but frank discussions between teens and parents about sex, some innuendo, and overall encourages reconciliation after divorce in a way that is unlikely to happen for most divorced couples. That aside, it's a well-done portrait of how families can stay involved and intact in spite of a split when parents put problems aside for the sake of the children.
What's the story?
Jesse (Jeffrey Nordling) and Susannah (Valerie Bertinelli) are divorced, and Mom seems to have moved on. So their trio of children set out to find love for Dad by placing an ad in a magazine. When the overwhelming responses include letters from Mom under another name, the children realize the potential to reunite them, and set out to make it happen.
Is it any good?
Part The Parent Trap and part Sleepless in Seattle, this engaging family comedy hinges on the promise of second chances set across the backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness. What could be an average setup works here because of smart performances, some clever scenes, and good chemistry between Bertinelli and Nordling. There's also good ground covered here for teens and parents to chew on -- amicable divorce, teens exploring their own matters of the heart, and the tensions surrounding individual goals, careers, and wishes, versus the communities we form around families and the responsibilities we have to them.
Parents can appreciate this frank, funny look at how families navigate divorce and reconciliation. And teens may learn a thing or two from this portrait of a family whose divorced life often looks better than most intact families'. The only ding here is that it's tough to advocate for a movie whose outcome is so unlikely in real life, which means younger kids in divorced families could walk away with some wishful thinking and subsequent disappointment. Better for older kids who can see this as a fairy tale sprinkled with humor and a little truth.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about divorce. Do you know families who are divorced? Do they get along as well as the family in the film? How is it the same or different?
Do you think the children are right to encourage their parents to get back together? Is it ever a good idea for kids to hope (or orchestrate) parents' reconciling?
Families can take all forms and still operate even after a split. What are some good examples you've seen of how families still work even when parents' relationships don't work out?