See original review here.
For starters, like most films that need remakes, Where Hope Grows has a poor budget allocation. The camera work needs a total rework, and the presence of a substantial soundtrack would have also helped things along. Post-production elements, such as editing, also need to be renovated, as the way the plot is presented is a bit disorienting at times. Overall, this film had a very indie feel to it, which is not always bad, but the lack of proper funding crippled this film’s full potential.
Plot and Storyline Improvements
The plot of Where Hope Grows also has some work to do. There is a disproportionate amount of time spent on the woes of troubled characters. Although this is a realistic approach, it’s not always done in a tasteful way. This is billed as a family film, but the audience therein will likely be disappointed by the slightly overdone amount of edgy content that lacks a proper amount of redemption to help things. Also, even though the characters are realistic in many ways, their dialogue needs deepening in order to assist the audience in relating to them better as people. For example, some flashbacks could have aided us in understanding the motivations of the characters rather than having another scene of the main character acting drunk. Also, as previously mentioned, the disorganization of this plot is a drag on the experience and blunts the full impact of the otherwise good ending. Essentially, a total rewrite of this plot by the right person could have put this film on the Hall of Fame.
This film’s important message regarding special needs people is reinforced by the excellent casting of a special needs actor. Though there are some overly heated emotional moments that could use some toning down, this section is overall the most reliable section of the movie.
Where Hope Grows was closer to greatness than a lot of films with twice its budget. This level of commitment to raw, imperfect characters is hard to come by in the plastic Christian market. However, there is a balance to find between extremely fake and extremely realistic. Perhaps a future Christian film maker can use this film as a model for how to walk the line between the two in order to make a truly dynamic film.