Approved for 12+

What Rhymes with Reason

Jesse Brandt is a good-hearted young man with plans for college and beyond. He and his friends are in their senior year, with their whole lives ahead of them. But tragedy strikes Jesse’s family when his parents die in a violent car crash. In the aftermath, Jesse finds a map and a compass left behind by his father, keys to finding a legendary local landmark. Jesse feels lost and confused, and he decides to embark on the adventure. His friends and his sister also embark on the adventure, and while on the journey, the teens confront the darkness within themselves and grow stronger than ever.

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Dove Review

Jesse Brandt is a young man with a good heart, and he’s in his senior year of high school. He has a community of close friends: his cousin Billy, Eli, and Zach. Along with Zach’s sister, Reena, they are young people with plans and dreams. Jesse’s dad invites him to a final adventure together to see a meteor shower, and Jesse rejects the idea. That night, tragedy strikes when Jesse’s parents die in a car accident. Jesse and his sister grieve, and Jesse’s friends are there to help. While cleaning out his father’s office, Jesse finds a map and compass, parts of the adventure his dad invited him on. Feeling lost and discouraged, Jesse decides to follow the clues to see if he can find a legendary local landmark and watch the meteor shower. Jesse’s friends and sister also go along, and while on the journey, every teen confronts the darkness within themselves and grows stronger than ever.

This movie deals with tough issues but injects them through a clear theme of close friendship and humor. The story does a great job including modern culture like social media and music. The mystery has clues that lead from one to another, deeper into the wilderness and further away from home, symbolic of teens about to leave school and venture out into the world. The clues are fun and interesting.

Most of the main characters must grow and learn more about themselves along the journey. Jesse and his sister, Savannah, must reconcile and decide how to continue on in their grief. Eli is the son of a successful mega-church pastor but wants to branch out on his own path instead of taking up the “family business.” Cousin Billy is a TikTok star but needs to learn how to take life more seriously and be more than likes on social media. Zach is the tough kid with anger, always wanting to fight with people, and he must grow past his bitterness. His sister, Reena, is a singer and finds the boldness to perform in front of others and bring hope to them.

Overall, the themes are interesting, and each character has a great journey. The “road trip” narrative is a great background for the teens to self-reflect apart from adults and seek out their thoughts and feelings. Also, since the tragic incident is death, the film delves into issues of mental health like anxiety.

Regarding the content of the film, there aren’t any issues with sex. Under integrity, the teens trespass and break into a house when there are signs warning them. A few times, the teens almost cuss or imply they are about to, but they don’t. The violence in the film includes a few fist fights between teens, and they discuss suicide a couple of times. There is a scene where the teens swim in the river, and the boys take off their shirts. For drug and alcohol use, Savannah is seen taking pills for anxiety, and a couple of gun-toting rednecks are having fun drinking beer.

The only content that might be problematic for younger viewers would be the discussions about suicide and mental health. Parents may want to be aware of these topics, including suicide, panic attacks, and anxiety medication. In addition, parents may want to discuss the issue of trespassing.

The film discusses faith a great deal, but the movie asks more questions than it resolves. The teens pray, and Reena even sings a great rendition of “It is Well with My Soul.” The characters wrestle with issues of grief and common questions related to believing in a good God during pain. Does God have a plan? Why are we hurting so much? What’s the point of life? Eli struggles with his father’s public religious persona versus his private reality. Again, the movie doesn’t answer all the questions, but the characters do grow through those internal struggles.

Issues to discuss with the family: How do we know God is good even when we go through hard times? Why is it important to know we are loved beyond social media engagement? What kind of adventures could we go on as a family? How can we make those adventures a priority?

Dove Take: What Rhymes with Reason receives a Dove seal for 12+, as it deals with tough issues and growing up during tragedy, all while emphasizing the importance of faith and friendship while on adventure together.

Dove Rating Details


Discussions about faith, prayer, God’s love and plan for our lives.


Great examples of loving parents, strong friendships, and willingness to forgive.




Implied utterances of cuss words like “son of a …” but unfinished; Friggin’


Two scenes of fist fighting between characters; rednecks shoot guns at target.


Brief drinking of beer by secondary characters; Savannah takes prescription medication.


Shirtless male teens swimming.


Trespassing, breaking into a house; content around suicide.

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