God Bless the Child: Family Approved 12+
Recommended for ages 12 and over
Video Release: 7/28/2015
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter/span>/span>
Writer: Robert Machoian
Producer: Laura Heberton, Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Bec
Director: Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck
Runtime: 94 min.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Harper Graham, Bruce Graham, Elias Graham, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck
Five siblings, from age one to 13, spend a day on their own, uncertain whether this time their depressed and unreliable mother is really gone for good. Harper, the eldest and the only girl, looks after her brothers as she always does, as their day descends into fantasy and chaos. The story is set in Davis, California.
“God Bless the Children” is an unforgettable film that shows the realities of child neglect. The plot revolves around a teen girl named Harper who looks after her four younger brothers. The youngest, Jonah, is just a year old. Their mother, who has been depressed, left without saying when she would be back. Harper can’t reach her when she attempts to call her on the phone.
The boys’ big sister, Harper Graham, is the heroine of the story as she comforts the youngest when he cries, makes sure the others eat and are bathed, and reads a bedtime story to them. She covers the youngest with a blanket and kisses him. Yet she has a few moments when she feels alone and discouraged, uncertainty hanging over her head like a dark cloud. There are a few scenes, such as one of the baby crying and her attempt to get him to sleep, that go on for a bit long. The viewer gets the feeling that this is a movie about babysitting; but then maybe that is the point. The viewer identifies with Harper having to be the mother, rather than the sister, to her four siblings named Elias, Arri, Ezra and Jonah. However, she can’t be with them at all times; in one instance a boy walks on the roof alone and in another a boy uses a chair to get into the freezer, which could have been an accident.
Harper is a teacher to her brothers, answering their question about plants and saying they are a creation of the Heavenly Father. We award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this film for ages twelve and above. It captures the stark reality of someone thrown into child rearing while she is a child herself.
Sex: While bathing a few of the boys, uses a word for male genitalia several times.
Language: Man says, “Scr*w you, kid” to boy; boy says, “Scr*w you” to elderly man; boy calls elderly man “Old Man” and “Creepy Old Man;” boy is rude and tells elderly man that his parents are dead; Butt-1; Punk-1; Jerk-1; Chicken-1; a possible “P” word but hard to distinguish.
Violence: Two young brothers box, one is hurt a bit when hit in the head with boxing glove; boys talk about superheroes and about punching someone in the face; boys bathe dog and one brother kicks dog.
Nudity: Boys seen in underwear, shirtless; cleavage; two boys take shower and are briefly seen nude behind the glazed bath door.
Other: Boy, without supervision, walks on roof alone; man flips boy middle finger; boy gets soap in his eye during bath and cries; teen girl has to watch her four brothers while her depressed mother is gone; old man tells boy to leave property and they exchange words; kid jumps off dresser to bed but is not hurt.