Here is a movie which features solid acting with engaging leads, Lara Silva (The Chosen) as Olivia Golden and Jason Burkey (The Mulligan). Their characters play an instrumental role in the story, and the movie hits a home run in making it clear that, with God’s help, people can change for the better. The songs that are included are energetic and peppy as well.
The premise of the story is that Olivia is very much a materialistic girl. The movie opens with friends helping “Liv” to celebrate her 29th birthday. But even with pushing 30, she has not grown up yet. She sells clothing, which she loves, and does video sales pitches. In fact, she boasts at having 360,000 followers, but she spends way too much money, relying on her parents to bail her out. And she’s behind on her rent. In one dramatic scene, she makes excuses to her landlord, and quickly walks away from him. He shakes his head and mutters, “This generation.”
One of Liv’s co-workers makes the rather humorous comment, “I don’t drive – I only Uber.” When Liv makes an on-line comment that her boss doesn’t like, she is immediately fired. This puts her in an awkward position as her close friend, Kimberly (Sarah Stipe), is the owner’s daughter. But Kimberly helps Liv out in this jam, offering for her to stay at her home while she’s briefly away, and watch her pets, Bruno (a dog) and Stanley (a python!) When the snake almost dies due to Liv’s negligence, Kimberly tells her she needs to find another place to stay.
Liv’s parents have also had enough of Liv’s ways, as she is always running up big bills that they have to pay. They tell her on a video call that they love her but are cutting her off, and that she needs to finally grow up. They are Christian people who are selling off a lot of their assets to help people. Her dad says to her, despite the tough love, “You will always be our little girl.”
Liv does have a heart, and it is shown when she offers a homeless woman a cookie to eat. In a comedic moment, the homeless woman says, “God bless you,” to which Liv replies, “I didn’t sneeze.” Liv also winds up at a homeless shelter, the Harvest Rescue Mission. She meets the manager of the mission, Ryan, who is wearing a hair net as he is helping in the kitchen. They know one another from high school. “You look like the High School lunch lady,” Liv tells him. “She was my mom!” replies Ryan.
There are wonderful Christian themes to think about in the film. There are several instances of prayer. Ryan grabs Liv’s hand and prays over the meal. And although Liv initially stays at the mission simply to have a home, and winds up working there, she gradually changes and comes to appreciate getting to know the residents and in seeing the changes the Lord makes in the lives of the people there. It ultimately is a story about second chances. Liv makes some mistakes and pays a price for it, but she moves forward and finds forgiveness and redemption. And Jesus is exalted in the film, as it is clearly stated He is always with us and loves us.
The film is realistic in its portrayal of the homeless and the extremely difficult backgrounds some come from. In one scene, an abusive former husband comes into the shelter, seeking to physically abuse his former partner, who is there with her daughter. He is stopped. And in one scene, early in her stay at the mission, Liv has to clean a toilet which is starkly shown, including how dirty it is. She becomes a resident aid, but she must eventually make decisions as to what is truly important to her. She has been an influencer of fashion, but will she become an influencer for God and His divine love? This film has earned our Dove seal for Ages 12+.
THE DOVE TAKE: This is one of the best faith-friendly films I have seen, and it is well made – don’t miss this one!