Found is the story of a deputy sheriff, Janelle Brennan (Wendy Piper) who discovers an orphaned teen boy named Finch (Joseph Stam) high up in the Appalachian Mountains where he has been living “off the grid” since he was born. Deputy Brennan moves heaven and earth to try and find the boy a safe place to acclimate to the modern world which he has never seen and soon resigns to the fact that her home and her unenthusiastic family may be the only option she can find. Trouble quickly brews as a gas and oil company shows up with plans of their own for Finch. Everyone soon finds themselves steeped in difficult trials that will test their faith (James 1: 2-4) and will either make them stronger or catch them up in the waves.
The plot line of this movie pulls you in and won’t let go! 16-year-old boy Finch (Joseph Stam) was raised in the Appalachian mountains on an old fashioned homestead in Virginia. He was raised by an elderly couple he affectionately called “Gran” and “Grandpa” Finch has special needs, and an innocence about him, having been raised away from society and technology. His life has been one of fishing and reading and praying. And when deputy sheriff Janelle Brennan (a compassionate, caring mother figure with the tenacity of a tigress) has to tell Finch that Gran and Grandpa are dead, her heart goes out to him, as she sees a kind young man who has to leave the security and familiarity of his life to enter a world he knows nothing about.
When Brennan learns Finch has to spend the night in a jail cell, due to a lack of space, and then is going to be sent to a foster home in which the man who runs the place was recently arrested for drugs, she becomes unglued. The man apparently was freed on a technicality, but Brennan knows that he is guilty. She takes Finch to her home, but without telling her husband Keith. She also has three other kids, Toby, Lisa, and Jackson.
Keith is none too happy on learning about their instant guest, but Janelle explains that it is temporary, just until they can find him a good home. When Keith, a writer, who is finishing a book, learns that Finch loves to read, they make a connection. Keith learns Finch loves Oliver Twist, and Keith comments later, “He started quoting Thoreau to me. What kid does that today?”
There are some funny scenes in the movie, with Finch reacting humorously the first time he sees a cell phone and his picture is taken. His first ride in a car is comedic as well. He also eats spaghetti for the first time, slurping it, and the rest of the family slurp along, while laughing, in order to make Finch feel at home. He sees the family’s outdoor water fountain and begins to stick his hands under the water, bathing with it. Most of the family takes a liking to him, but oldest son Toby resents him being there and calls him a “hillbilly”. Part of Toby’s resentment occurs from his dad, Keith, giving Finch a journal and a Dickens’ book to read. Toby is also struggling in school with failing grades.
The plot of the movie thickens when Finch, who is beginning to fit in with the family and even adjust to modern life, learns that his biological mother is alive. Two attorneys visit his mother, named Jessica, and it seems that Finch is the sole heir to the property that he grew up on, Briar Rock Mountain. It is virgin land and worth a lot of money. They convince Jessica to reveal herself to Finch with the idea of gaining custody of him so she will have control of his property until he turns 18.
It becomes plain to Janelle that Jessica has no interest in her son but just wants his inheritance. She and the family discuss trying to gain custody of Finch themselves. However, Toby is still struggling with his resentment toward Finch. Toby tells Finch he burned his journal, and that he is not wanted there.
In a key scene, Finch races against Toby and some other boys in a 100-meter dash at school and Toby bumps Finch in order to make him fall. The other boys and his own coach are not happy with Toby.
We don’t wish to spoil the plot, but the movie contains a highly satisfying conclusion for the viewer and the film does a good job in showing character growth and change. The film easily earns our Dove seal for Ages 12+. It features the faith of Finch, who quotes from the Bible and believes that tests can come along to make a person stronger. He speaks of Jesus too and how that sometimes when we pray, we get a simple answer and it fits just what we need.
The Dove Take:
This family-friendly movie is a fine, faith-based journey featuring a special needs boy who teaches his new family to enjoy the simple things in life, while always having faith that Jesus uses the simplest pieces of our story for His glory.