Starring Avila Schmidt, Scarlet Schmidt, and Autumn Fiore, the actors play normal girls who like to giggle, play, and who are hoping to be adopted. The oldest, Avila, is interviewed by a prospective adoptive couple, and they really like her. But when the second oldest, Autumn, and youngest, Scarlet, make a lot of noise outside, and then bump a vehicle outside belonging to the man, he decides he is not interested in going forward with the adoption. It is later revealed in the film that the couple did offer to adopt just Avila, but she turned them down, stating that she could not leave her sisters behind.
The movie is very scenic at times, opening with a lighthouse view on an island that the girls will become very familiar with. We are shown crashing waves against large rocks, birds, and sea lions. Later, the girls play on a beach and have fun snorkeling. Suddenly, young Scarlet is in danger of being swept away while she is astride a surfboard, and her sisters come to her rescue. Unfortunately, the large and looming waves pull them away from the beach. A little boy bids them farewell from the beach, not realizing the danger they are in.
This movie was filmed on location off the coast of Baja, California and Alta, California, and the cinematography is very vivid. The girls are out at sea for quite a while, and they manage to stay on the surfboard, and even play tic-tac-toe and giggle a bit.
They will soon have close calls, mishaps, and adventures as they come to an island with a lighthouse. As stated at the start of the film, weak animals on the island will not find food, will have accidents, and will be prey to various predators. Some become orphans. It becomes apparent that all of these are possibilities for the three lost girls. Yet, Avila keeps the faith, stating, “Don’t lose faith. God is always going to guide us.”
They spot baby sea lions as well as huge elephant seals. They manage to laugh when a bird poops on Autumn. Yet they deal with danger too, as when Avila saves Autumn after she slips under the water. They spot crabs and other water creatures on the island. The girls also have flashbacks, remembering being home and playing together. Sadly, Autumn struggles to remember the face of her mother and asks Avila if she remembers what Mommy looked like. “Yeah, of course I do,” Avila replies.
Autumn and Avila have been separated from Scarlet, and they wonder if their youngest sister is all right. In the meantime, Scarlet struggles to find her way back to her sisters. At one point Avila suggests they go underwater to pass through an opening and Autumn says she can count as far as seven Mississippi, meaning she will be out of air by that point. Autumn finds herself caught by seaweed but Avila helps free her. In a humorous scene, they spot a crab crawling on top of a human skull, and Avila says, “Poor guy.” Yet the scene is a reminder that death lurks nearby on this island. The girls finally find Scarlet and they are determined to get to the lighthouse at the top of the island to see if the lighthouse keeper is still there and can help them.
There are wonderful discussion points for families and things to think about. As already mentioned, Avila mentions keeping faith in God to guide them, and at one point Autumn prays for God to help her find Avila. The girls continue to keep the faith that they will be rescued. And the girls tell one another often that they love each other. Interestingly, the girls’ parents in real life, Ann-Marie Schmidt and Brian Schmidt, directed the film. During the credits they are seen playing with their girls and on set. Cali Wang wrote the music, which is dramatic and fitting for the various scenes.
This film has earned our Dove Seal for Ages 12+. Parents should consult the content listing as some parents may be okay with their kids a bit under 12 giving the movie a watch.
THE DOVE TAKE: This movie shows young girls as the heroines of the story and the film is a mixture of adventure, close calls, and a few laughs along the way.