Here’s a movie that will inspire, offer hope, and tell a good story all at the same time! The film features a stellar cast including Eric Roberts, T.C. Stallings and Tea McKay in a breakout role as Sarah Miller, a vulnerable girl who yet finds a deep strength that enables her to cope with life. That life has endured abuse that, unfortunately, many women are exposed to.
Sarah’s stepfather, Roger Donigal (Eric Roberts), has manipulated Sarah’s mother with alcohol, knowing she has a penchant for it. Sarah’s mother, Karen (Dey Young), has allowed Roger to prostitute Sarah, trafficking her despite the pain deep inside and the knowledge that it is wrong. Sarah is finally removed from the home and taken to Safe Haven, a horse ranch which includes bonding with horses as part of the girls’ therapy. Sarah doesn’t feel like she belongs with the rest of the “herd,” the name the group goes by in order to encourage a team-like atmosphere. But she connects with Felicity (Jen Gotzon), the director, and Felicity places Sarah with Dreamer, a beautiful horse that, like Sarah, has an abusive past. It takes a long time for Dreamer to trust Sarah, but when he does, the bond between them grows in such a powerful way that Dreamer literally helps save her life. Having faith in God and praying are encouraged at the ranch, and Sarah calls on God in prayer, probably for the first time ever.
The movie does a good job in giving the viewer rich and believable characters, characters that the viewer will root and cheer for. The characters’ pain becomes the viewer’s pain, as does their triumphs. Detective Mitchell Sangrin (T.C. Stallings) becomes involved in the case and he feels the girls’ pain very personally—his daughter Alison has been pulled into sex trafficking, stolen away, and all leads point to Roger. Eric Roberts does a remarkable job in portraying Roger as a subtle and threatening villain.
As Sarah’s mother begins taking parenting classes and working toward sobriety in order to eventually get Sarah back, a young man named Kenny (David Topp) stands with Sarah too, even helping Detective Sangrin in trying to locate his daughter. Sarah’s mother knows she has made serious mistakes but is determined to do the right thing and put Roger away. However, Roger will not give up easily, plotting to exploit her weakness for alcohol. The majestic prancing of the horses, the incredible scenery, the gut-wrenching pain of the girls, and their grit all combine to make this a moving movie experience. One scene shows blood on a girl and the floor when she attempts suicide, but it is a quick couple of moments. The mature theme means the movie is definitely geared toward ages 12 and above, and we do indeed award the movie our Dove Seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
This stirring film puts the spotlight on a real and painful potential problem for young girls, but at the same time it offers inspirational hope! It clearly demonstrates the difference that the support of family and friends, and a submission to God, can make. This is an educational film as well as a dramatic one.