Before going to see Where Hope Grows, I knew only two things about it:
- One of the main characters has Down Syndrome and is played by an actor with Down Syndrome, David DeSanctis.
- DeSanctis promoted the film at January’s Students for Life of America conference. I didn’t get to hear him, though, because I was manning the Secular Pro-Life table.
Where Hope Grows is rated PG-13, despite a lack of profanity and graphic violence, because it deals extensively with alcoholism.
Religion is a secondary theme in Where Hope Grows, but I didn’t feel that it was being shoved down my throat. Produce is a devout Christian and carries a Bible with him wherever he goes; his new friends are non-religious or only nominally Christian. His efforts to get them to go to church flow naturally from his character and add some levity to what would otherwise be pretty dark scenes. It also makes sense that an alcoholic character would begin attending the church where his AA meetings are held. Finally, there is a scene in which several characters pray for someone who is in the hospital and debate whether or not God grants prayers. That’s it. I dreaded a proselytizing “come to Jesus” moment, which would have sent the film swerving into the cheesy lane; thankfully, the writer refrained.
Where Hope Grows was released last weekend and is playing in theaters nationwide.