This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Godspeed Pictures. All my opinions are 100% mine.
So, just from the title you may be thinking, “What? She’s talking about a movie? What’s that got to do with recipes, DIY or gardening?” And you’d be partially right. But you know how I’m always wanting to share great finds with you that are meaningful to me, like I do regularly on our Three Things posts? This is like that, except I was offered the chance to see a screening of the movie Where Hope Grows before it’s been officially released on May 15 – and I jumped at the chance because of two things:
- one of the lead actors in this movie has Down syndrome, and
- the promotional materials mentioned that there is a faith element as well as just being an all-around inspirational story
The first point is near-and-dear to my heart. Did you all know I was a special education teacher? I usually just say preschool teacher, since I specialized in younger ages and my last years of teaching were spent in a regular preschool classroom. But all through college and a number of years teaching, I was with children with special needs. And I saw firsthand the joy, frustration, and misunderstanding surrounding these kids. Yes, there are challenges, but I found out pretty quickly that they are individuals who mostly could do much more than I initially gave them credit for – and that my life would be forever changed just by knowing them. And more importantly that everyone. has. value.
So I absolutely love that this movie not only features an actor with Down syndrome (David Desanctis) as one of the leads, but also shows him living independently and how his life impacts others. It’s basically a buddy-movie and my family was prepared for an inspirational feel-good movie, but we actually got much more. We saw that while on the surface it seemed that the special needs character was most obviously the person with a problem, as the story unfolded it became clear that he was actually the only character in the movie that DIDN’T have big problems.
The character of Produce (he works in the produce section of a grocery store) absolutely reminded me of my students with Down syndrome – equal parts happy, huggy…and stubborn. Joy in the little things. When I think of the phrase “childlike faith” I often think of these qualities I observed in Down kids that (usually) had no deceit to go along with them, but just enough stubbornness (not always what a teacher wanted to deal with!) to hold on to what was important to them.
The second reason why I was looking forward to watching this and sharing it with you was because I’m always curious about how Christianity is portrayed in modern movies. I’ll confess that I’ve seen my share of hokey, not-well-done movies with a “good heart.” This is most definitely not one of those movies – it’s production value is top-notch and the acting is great! It’s not in-your-face at all, and I found the faith part was basically like real life – Produce has a book which he cherishes and invites his new friend to church. And the friend says no – like many people we invite to church, right? He does eventually get there, but it’s not like you’d think and a lot happens along the way. There are no pat answers here, either, and the film doesn’t always take the easy way out, though the ending is satisfying.