Diamond in the Rough
Michelle, a young teen in Colorado, loses her faith amidst extreme hardships and brief homelessness. With a mother battling drug and alcohol addiction since she was little, and war veteran father battling extreme PTSD, violence and dysfunction are the norm. But with a grandmother strong in her faith, and new friendships at school that break down walls, Michelle begins to realize that sometimes hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.
Her mother is an alcoholic. Her father, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. So, it’s safe to say that Michelle is at an extreme disadvantage even before she gets out of bed in the morning. Of course, there also are mornings where Michelle doesn’t even have a bed, owing to a brief spell of homelessness. but she’s got a praying grandmother and prayer gives her a fighting chance.
To say Michelle, a teenager in the Denver area, is a Diamond in the Rough is to put it mildly. There’s all kind of rough she has to navigate, and it causes her to question the faith she learned when she was baptized as a child, but things start looking up when she finds a friend named Maki, who’s also been visited by homeless misfortune.
Pastor Davis, played by one of the hardest-working men in the acting business (Clifton Powell), is a protective ray of sunshine in her dark world. While the pastor is influential, it’s when Michelle starts putting into practice the faith she learned from her grandma Sally that the rough places begin to smoothen, especially after the grandmother’s completely predictable death plays out. She makes the swim team. She helps her father get a job. She helps feed the homeless.
This is a movie that offers hope. The mother rediscovers her faith. The father enters PTSD rehab. None of it is easy, but Michelle learns to heal from the hurts, by forgiving them. Now, the movie isn’t free from things that will concern Dove audiences — a drug dealer refers to Davis as a “punk-ass” pastor, the father drops what sounds like an F-bomb in an episode of PTSD and the same father smacks the mother. There’s an ethnic slur that is employed about the people the father fought in Afghanistan.
But on the whole, Diamond in the Rough is a positive cinematic work that eventually wends its way to a place of hope. Some of the themes seem a tad mature, leading us to a Dove-approved Seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
It’s a bit rough, a lot melancholy, but the message of faith and redemption makes this worth seeing.