The Harvest is a film that follows the McLean family. The family enjoyed a simple and happy life in Marble Falls, Texas. Dave McLean, the father, participates in a hunting lifestyle with his high school-aged daughter and son. Dave is a professional hunter who has his own show on the Sportsman Channel. Judy McLean, the mother of the family, does not hunt but is supportive of the lifestyle. Mac, Dave’s father, is the pastor at the local Marble Falls Church. Mac is the patriarch of the family and is strong in character and faith. In fact, the entire family would profess a strong Christian faith but find their faith powerfully tested when they move to New York City, a move the family never in a million years would have imagined.
The McLean family lives an idyllic American life. Spending their leisure time hunting, out in the great outdoors or at church, life can’t be any more peaceful than it is in Marble Falls, Texas. However, avid outdoorsman and conservationist, Dave McLean, is about to send his family into a tailspin when he receives the job offer of a lifetime. His children and wife resist the daunting move to New York at first, but after careful consideration and prayer, they decide to relent. They know it’s Dave’s dream, and they want to support him. But soon, Dave’s dream seems to be the most important thing to their otherwise balanced and healthy family.
The Harvest really surprised me. The story and subject matter is definitely not common, and the writing is clever. Scenes are well thought out, transitions are fantastic and artful. It’s a tale as old as time (someone gets caught up in themselves and ruins their family over it), but the story never comes off as feeling cliche or fake in any way. Structuring the story around the idea of hunting, life versus death, faith, and our priorities is a brilliant combination of elements I haven’t seen before. Dave’s nearsighted vision and pride allows his work to consume his life to the detriment of himself and his family.
Meanwhile, his three children and his dutiful wife Judy are struggling with their faith—but for an entirely different reason. The film makes a good point: it’s easy to be a Christian and follow Jesus when you live in an area that is conducive to a clean, Christian life. But what about when you leave? Do you take your faith with you? Will you be as committed to your relationship with the Lord in a place void of faith as you are in a place full of faith?
It reminds me of something my own pastor says, “Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you stop being a Christian.” While that’s funny, it’s also true. How quick are we to lay our faith aside when it just seems out of place or uncomfortable? Examining the way the McLean children and Judy handle their big transition is a moment for all of us to self-analyze. Of course, there is much to be learned from Dave and his father, Mac, and their relationship. I love how moments of wisdom, usually delivered by Mac, are sprinkled throughout the film. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but there are some brilliant allegories and nuggets of wisdom within the film. There is something for every level and age of believer to glean from and think about. And maybe most importantly, this film, centered around “the hunt,” reminds us that life is really about “the harvest.” In this reviewer’s humble opinion, The Harvest is an excitingly different faith-based film, and definitely worth watching. It earns the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
The Harvest is an interesting and multi-dimensional faith-based film the whole family can watch (and learn from).