"Moving Past Grief"
What You Need To Know:
The two sibling characters in DOWN BY THE RIVER are appealing characters, but the movie’s production values and acting are only fair. That said, DOWN BY THE RIVER has a strong Christian, moral worldview overall. The family members hold onto faith, hope, and caring for one another. There are also positive references to God and prayer. DOWN BY THE RIVER makes viewers consider how precious life is and the importance of living it to the fullest by helping and serving others.
(CC, BB, V, N, A, D, M) Strong Christian, moral worldview contains positive references to God and prayer, a Christian funeral, and showing how precious life is and the importance of living it to the fullest by helping and serving others; no foul language; no overt violence but sick child has a health crisis and dies; no sexual content; upper male nudity as young man rests in his room; estranged father puts alcohol in his juice during dinner; smoking; and, estranged father character is a bad role model, intense grief, young man quarrels with girlfriend.
DOWN BY THE RIVER is based on a true story.
It opens with 7-year-old Hannah pleading with her big brother Skylar to stay up with her. Sky convinces her it’s bedtime. Hannah takes her medicine and complies.
Sky is an aspiring writer who just sent his manuscript out to publishers hoping for a book deal. He is a hardworking mechanic by day, who helps his mother, a single parent, care for his younger sister, who has sickle cell anemia.
Hannah gets sick and is rushed to the hospital. She gets home a little before her birthday and Leroy, her absent father, shows up for dinner. Leroy is controlling and domineering, and Sky dislikes and distrusts him. Leroy puts alcohol in his juice as the others are saying grace before the meal. He gets angry with Hannah during dinner because she won’t eat her green beans. Hannah worries that Leroy will leave again, and he does. Further disappointment comes when Sky gets a rejection letter from the publishers.
Sky is clearly the father figure in the family. He does all he can to support and protect Hannah. Sadly, despite all his efforts, Hannah has another serious sickle cell crisis at her birthday party and dies. Sky grieves hard and feels that part of him died with Hannah. How can he move past his grief?
The production quality of DOWN BY THE RIVER is only fair. There are inconsistencies in the audio throughout the movie. Also, there’s not enough a character arc or development of the storyline in certain places, such as when a resolution is made too soon after a conflict occurs. The acting is adequate, but Hannah and Sky are loveable characters.
DOWN BY THE RIVER has a strong Christian, moral worldview, with only minor questionable elements. In the story, family members and friends hold onto faith, hope, and caring for one another during the life and death of Hannah. There are positive references made to God, prayer before dinner, and a Christian funeral.
DOWN BY THE RIVER makes viewers look at how precious life is and the importance of living it to the fullest. This means not just living for self, but helping and serving others. Sky does his best helping and serving his mother and Hannah, but when she dies, he loses all sense of hope. However, despite the sadness, the movie ends with Sky choosing to accept Hannah’s death and live again by honoring her memory.