When Kelsey (MacKenzie Mauzy) is betrayed by the love of her life, she reluctantly agrees to attend a church service where she makes a bold move by responding to a mission call, regardless of the fact that she is struggling in her relationship with God. When she hears the speaker say that “God uses everything: what you love, your hurt, your whims,” she decides it’s time for a leap of faith and accepts a temporary job as a teacher in Taiwan.
Kelsey quickly discovers that she has much to learn in this foreign land, but she resists getting attached to the people in her life, especially her fellow teacher, Horace (Justin Chien), so her journey is challenging. However, when these two agree to teach one another their native languages, the topics they discuss become increasingly deep and meaningful, often surrounding the role of God in their lives.
In these moments we discover the other source of Kelsey’s fear – her gravely ill mother. Her strained relationship with her spunky sister, Liz (Madison McLaughlin), highlights Kelsey’s reluctance to deal with her emotions, but Horace helps her see that she is operating out of the fear that if she gets too close to anyone, God will take them away. He encourages her that it is ok to feel, and to be transparent in the process. This raises important questions worth discussing about the nature of God: how He operates in our lives and how to manage our emotions in trying times.
Meanwhile, it is evident that Kelsey’s fondness is growing, not only for her students, but for Horace as well. There are sweet scenes of the two getting to know one another through sightseeing excursions and shared meals, and their connection is conveyed authentically. Short of one small, concealed on-screen kiss, this film is entirely appropriate for all ages. However, there is one scene where Kelsey takes out her unprocessed anger on her ex-fiancé’s car by throwing pieces of their wedding cake at it. But when we finally witness Kelsey face her fears, and learn new ways to manage her grief, we understand her growth and subsequent purpose is enabled by these circumstances. This sweet movie encourages discussion in a subtle way around the faithfulness of God in the face of grief and loss.
Sun Moon is a quiet film that reminds us in a powerful way that throughout the circumstances of our lives, God is ever-present and can create purpose from our pain.