Heartfelt & Inspiring Drama
Silmarwen | Huntington Beach, CA United States | 05/25/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a solid entertainer in the Hallmark-Channel style. It hits all the right notes and the characters in the story all manage to do exactly what you hope they will so it does give you that "warm fuzzy" feeling inside without doing anything terribly original. I did like the beginning where James Earl Jones's wife asks him to set up a reading room in the neighborhood where he grew. Jones does not understand why his wife would ask this of him, but, over time, he comes to realize that he needs others to care for and to keep him going. By serving others, he gives himself a purpose and finds joy in life again. This is a message that we often do not get in our society. Helping others really does make you feel good and when you feel good, you want to help others. If everyone made a bit of an effort to do seemingly ordinary, everyday things to help others on their way, we would live in a much different society today.
Of course, Jones's character had to face obstacles in order to have something to triumph over, right? Most of the obstacles were pretty obvious including how do you get children to come into the reading room, single parents refusing to let their children study there as they were needed for chores at home, local thugs causing havoc and inner city kids believing they can't go to college. The one that caught me a little bit off guard was the local reverend who did not welcome the reading room into the neighborhood. He was pretty unwelcoming, actually. The reverend was concerned about what would happen to all of the children when Jones decided he was bored with his pet project and moves on. I felt that this was a really valid point. How many of us stick with the volunteer efforts that we start? Is 3 months long enough to have a life-changing impact on people? Of course it is. But what happens to those people when you leave? They know that there is something better out there for them, but now they do not have the means or motivate to reach out for it.
If you enjoy a good, heartwarming drama, then you will enjoy this one. James Earl Jones really plays himself in the movie, but I love the sound of his voice and it was a delight to see him in this smaller film. Hopefully some of his true personality was shining through as he helped a young girl learn how to read and coaxed a young man into pursuing his dream of attending college. I like to think so anyway. The supporting cast did not have to do much to fulfill their roles: a little girl had to be cute and precocious; a teenager had to be a tough, inner hood; a woman had to be a boozy, lazy single mom, etc. The characters were a little one note, but the message was still worthwhile. A good movie to watch with your children when they are a a little bit older about the value of giving back in some way."