This is a wonderful movie, dealing with the reality of death and how it has affected two main characters. Traci (Nikki DeLoach) and Michael (Brennan Elliott) have each lost their spouses. Traci lost her husband, Greg, a few years before, and Michael, who leads a church support group, lost his wife, Melody, recently as well.
Traci, who has not painted in a few years, is having a difficult time getting back into it because she says that she and Greg “complemented each other in every way.” One of the nice things about this movie is that it emphasizes the need to appreciate the people that God has placed in our lives. When Traci visits her parents during the Christmas season, her mother tells her that she and her father are blessed to be her parents. “I’m so lucky to be your daughter,” Traci replies.
Traci wants to move forward but has difficulty in letting Greg go. In one poignant scene she recalls trying to help Greg improve his paintings. He is seated next to Traci, and comments that he is concerned about how he is doing. “You’re in good shape,” she encourages him. “Thanks, I work out!” he replies, and they both laugh. The film contains several moments of humor peppered in which occasionally lightens the heavy dramatic moments.
Traci initially attends the grief support group that Michael leads, but she isn’t ready to share her feelings of grief, and she leaves shortly after she arrives. Michael visits her at her store, and encourages her to come back, just to listen or to share only what she wishes to. She does and meets a lady whose husband, Ron, has passed away. She and Ron used to play Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus every Christmas. A man named Justin shares that he lost his grandmother, and he is running the bakery she once ran. His relationship with his father is shaky, and he hopes to eventually strengthen it. Tracy is only able to share that she is angry over what happened to Greg, but it is a first step in her healing process.
The support group is going to volunteer to help at a youth center Christmas party, which will feature storytelling, and Michael hints they need someone who can help paint toy trains. “I wish there was someone with that skill set,” he hints to Traci. Traci takes the bait and volunteers to help the kids with their painting. In another comedic moment, Traci – who had accidentally gotten some paint on Michael’s shirt in one scene – jokes that she will show up with paintbrush in hand. “I’ll keep my distance,” jokes Michael.
Traci tells a friend that the support group session has been positive, and she begins to paint more. She is slowly moving forward but Michael has not yet shared what happened to Melody, and how she died. It is obvious that Traci and Michael are attracted to one another, but just as obvious is the fact they will need to heal enough from their grief to move forward.
There are some nice church scenes included in the film, with Traci sitting in a pew she once shared with Greg, and she remembers him saying they were the best seats in the house. Traci admits to having backed off from her faith after Greg’s death, but she begins to move ahead and in one scene she prays. She tells Michael that her faith isn’t sturdy, but he reminds her that faith the size of a mustard seed is all that’s required. And, after praying for Traci in the support group, Traci looks touched, and Michael tells her, “That’s what healing looks like.”
We see a beautiful mountain scene and one of the support group members, Regina, sings “Go Tell it On the Mountain,” which was a song her deceased and talented mother used to sing. Eventually Michael shares about the loss of his wife, Melody, and he and Traci decide to take, as Michael says, “One small step, or date, at a time.”
THINK ABOUT IT: This film is strong in presenting core Christian values, and it shows that sometimes the tests and trials of life can hit us hard, but through the support of friends and loved ones, we can continue in our faith with Christ. There are no overt concerns about the movie, with just some wine being seen at a meal and in another scene with a few people holding a glass of wine. The fact that God is always with us is nicely presented and that God can lead us out of the valley and give us a renewed hope in life. There can be good discussion points with kids 12 and over, about death but that God still offers us hope through the Bible and in the promise of a future resurrection.
This film has earned our Dove Seal for ages 12+. Consult the content listing as some parents may be fine with their children just under 12 viewing the movie.
THE DOVE TAKE: This warm and witty movie about Christians finding a renewed hope after loss is nicely portrayed and acted, and it should bless a lot of families who view it.