[text_block_nav title=”The Plot”]”Where Hope Grows” is an inspirational tale about a young man with Down’s Syndrome befriending an alcoholic former MLB player. The young man with Down’s is named Produce and he works at the local Valu-Market. In between dispensing hugs and information about fruit barcodes, Produce and Drunken Pitcher form a friendship that will last forever. Produce endears himself to everyone he meets, as his magical presence makes everyone want to be better. Even Zabka.

[/text_block_nav][text_block_nav title=”What Troy Thought”]The film is a Christian themed tale that goes out of its way to keep the Faith based pushiness at a minimum and allows a natural friendship to develop onscreen. Produce suffers from the “Radio” syndrome of being a plot device rather than a character at times. However, David DeSanctis works the hell out of the role by building a world around what could’ve been a disposable movie. That’s not to overlook the turns from McKellar, Zabka or Polaha.

One thing that I found odd was the use of the attempted rape scene at the Family Fun Park towards the end of the movie. I get that they wanted to have edge and push the rating up, but it went from cute TV friendly to darkly themed material rather fast. I guess it was the up-close nature of the action and how violently Produce ended it that made me raise an eyebrow.

But, I realize there might be a smidge of personal bias that comes into play from recognizing the many landmarks of a film shot in Louisville. I love my hometown and its desire to be used for movie production. Keep coming, movie productions! The town loves you and they can’t stop talking about where they were when “Stripes” shot here. That was 34 years ago and they’re still full of awe.

I could gush about David DeSanctis making the most out of a star making turn in this feature, but I want to take a moment to call attention the troublesome ending. I’m not going to spoil it like a few readers told me that the Village Voice did earlier this week. But, if you set up certain storytelling arcs…pleasing the audience does sacrifice the integrity of the story to a degree.

Due to the open nature of what I review at AndersonVision, I cover a lot of faith based movies. Some of that comes from the fact that PR companies and studios see that I’m firmly based in Kentucky and assume every stereotype under the sun. While I have a taste for fried chicken and whiskey, I tend to stay clear of the family friend Jesus movie stuff. “Where Hope Grows” is a welcome standout among those films and I hope that the future slate of faith-based movies take their cut from this wonderful Chris Dowling film. A soft touch is all you need to sell spiritually inclined goodwill to the masses.


“Where Hope Grows” opens in Louisville this Friday.

The following theaters are confirmed to be showing the film:

  • Carmike Stonybrook
  • Cinemark Tinseltown USA


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