"Where Hope Grows" is a heart-warming movie. Do people even say that any more? That something is heart-warming. I guess it is old-fashioned to call it that, but "Where Hope Grows" is an old-fashioned kind of movie in that it harkens back to a time where movies promoted positive values. There are many messages in this film and they are all good ones. The story informed me - and warmed my heart.
The focus of the film is Calvin Campbell (Kristoffer Polaha). This man was once on the fast track to baseball stardom. He made it as far as the majors and choked. He just couldn't handle the pressure. Now he is back in his small town home town living with his seventeen year old daughter Katie (McKaley Miller) and spending his time with his high school buddies.
Calvin doesn't see much of a future ahead of him so he drowns his sorrows in the bottle. He lives on his savings and is unemployed. He is clueless as to what problems his daughter is facing, especially those concerning her overly demanding boyfriend Colt (Michael Grant). He is pressuring her for a sexual relationship and her defenses are getting weaker.
Everyone's life changes when Calvin enters into a friendship with Produce (David DeSanctis), a young man with Down Syndrome who works at the local grocery store. Produce has a very positive outlook on life and it inspires Calvin to try to clean up his act.
There is a lot more to the story but it all centers around this basic plot. All that is added is both dramatic and inspirational, and all of it draws you into the story completely. You care about these characters, especially Calvin and Produce, and you want to know what the impact of all these events is going to be on their lives.
Both Polaha and DeSanctis are amazing in their roles. The chemistry and interplay between these two actors make the movie. Polaha has been seen on television and in the movies so a little bit of professional talent is expected from him. But for DeSanctis this is his first role and he is wonderful. You will not soon forget his performance.
The movie is rated PG-13 for adult situations and mild violence.
Where Hope Grows" is on a limited number of screens so if you want to see it you will have to seek it out. It is one of those movies that is worth the effort to find. Once you are viewing it time slips away and it is over much too soon. Now how many movies can affect you in that way.
"Where Hope Grows" is worth seeing for its story, its message, its acting and the actual beauty of the experience. That is what it did for me in addition to warming my heart.
I scored "Where Hope Grows" a thriving 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper