"Accepting and Understanding God’s Perfect Plan"

Content: +3 Some minor questionable elements.

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What You Need To Know:

DIFFERENT DRUMMERS is based on the true story of David Dahlke and Lyle Hatcher, two boys in the 1960s who become unlikely friends, despite their differences. Lyle is an overactive boy, while David has muscular dystrophy and is stuck in a wheelchair. The boys are paired up as science fair partners. As they get to know each other, David tells Lyle that God spoke to him and told him their teacher is going to die. When she actually does, Lyle is confused and begins to search for answers about God. The story ultimately teaches a lesson about learning to understand and accept what God has in store for everyone.

DIFFERENT DRUMMERS has plenty of uplifting moments and Christian and biblical themes throughout the story. However, it sometimes gets lost in tying the story together. The movie is not always well acted and doesn’t have the most unique story. Regardless, it’s a positive family movie that deals with a range of emotions and relatable situations. DIFFERENT DRUMMERS is suitable for most ages, from young children to adults, and has only very mild violence.


(CCC, BBB, V, N, D, MM) Very strong Christian, biblical, moral worldview; one vulgarity plus minor crude humor; mild brief violence, such as two characters pricking their fingers with a knife and drawing blood, two boys holding another boy down and shooting him with a BB gun, a wrestling match on the playground, a wheelchair accident results in wounds; no sexual content; natural upper male nudity in pool scenes; one reference to alcohol being used to kill spiders; one character shown smoking a pipe; and, trespassing and family arguing.

More Detail:

DIFFERENT DRUMMERS is based on a true story about two unlikely friends, David and Lyle, growing up in the 1960s.

Lyle is an able-bodied, energetic boy who can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and David is the exact opposite. He’s in a wheelchair and suffers from muscular dystrophy. With the science fair approaching, David and Lyle are the only ones left without partners and are paired together at the last minute.

As they get to know each other, David tells Lyle that God told him their teacher is going to die soon. Lyle doesn’t understand how God could tell him that. So, when their teacher actually does pass away, he begins to search for answers about God’s existence anywhere he can find them.

The two of them decide to collect bugs for their science fair project. Since they are out in nature, Lyle convinces David that he will, one day, teach him how to run. Due to David’s condition, Lyle realizes that he may not be able to run any time soon, so he devises a plan to raise money to find a cure for his friend by walking on his hands all the way across the floor of the auditorium.

David and Lyle face hardships along their journey that include very real encounters with loss, pain and, ultimately, understanding and acceptance.

DIFFERENT DRUMMERS is, overall, an uplifting story that sometimes gets lost in trying too hard to make the point it’s trying to make. It is, without a doubt, filled with positive messages about learning to understand God’s plan for everyone, but it seems overwhelmed with many irrelevant plot elements that are never developed or continued upon further along in the movie.

While the movie is directed fairly well, the acting is sometimes unconvincing, a little lackluster and the movie itself tries fairly hard to be dramatic and heart wrenching. The characters aren’t extremely unique and neither is the story. The soundtrack is a little bit confusing as well at times, and often distracts from what’s taking place. Although it’s set in the 1960s, it’s a little hard to tell. Other than a black and white television set and a few props, it is never clearly mentioned when the story takes place, and the costumes could only vaguely pass for the time period.

The movie is a familiar coming of age story about facing and overcoming life’s struggles. DIFFERENT DRUMMERS is appropriate for most ages with parental guidance. There are multiple scenes that include mild violence and blood, but only a little bit. It is filled with positive messages for children to learn. In the end, Lyle learns to accept loss and understand that, although it can be confusing, God really does have a perfect plan for everyone.