"Lost and Found in the Outback"

What You Need To Know:

BUCKLEY’S CHANCE is a family drama about a 13-year-old boy, Ridley, who moves with his mother to western Australia to live with his estranged grandfather after the death of his father. Ridley and his mom are met by a disgruntled and bitter grandfather who doesn’t want them. Ridley runs away and is kidnapped. He escapes his kidnappers but gets lost in the dangerous outback when he tries to find his way back home. A wild dog helps Ridley out of a trap and protects and guides the boy along the way. Meanwhile, Ridley’s grandfather assures his mother they’ll find her missing son. Will they get there in time, however?

BUCKLEY’S CHANCE is a slow-moving, lackluster, but sensitive, drama about a dysfunctional family that tries try to make peace with their pasts and connect with each other. The movie focuses too much on its backstory, where nothing really happens. RIDLEY’S CHANCE has a strong moral worldview that extols family and some redemptive content promoting forgiveness. However, there are several scenes with guns, kidnapping and brief foul language. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older pre-teen children.


(BB, C, LL, VV, AA, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral worldview stresses the importance of family and family ties, plus some redemptive elements where one main character asks for forgiveness, and other main characters forgive

Foul Language:
12 obscenities (including a few uses of “bloody,” “h” words, the Australian/British word for a**, and one use of “bastard”), but no profanities

Strong and light violence and peril includes characters held at gunpoint, shots fired at animals, boy kidnapped, thugs threaten to set a place on fire, boy who never used a gun given a shotgun and told to shoot an animal, a boy is dragged over falls by a heavy river current, snakes encountered, and boy hits his head on a rock and falls unconscious

No sex

No nudity

Alcohol Use:
Thugs appear to be drunk

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
(MM, M) Kidnapping, bullying, rebellion, the main family is dysfunctional, but all is ultimately rebuked or reconciled.

More Detail:

BUCKLEY’S CHANCE is about a 13-year-old boy, Ridley, who moves from New York City with his mother to his grandfather’s house in western Australia, a year after the death of his father. Met with a cool welcome, Ridley quickly realizes that his grandfather, Spencer, is an extremely bitter man. Spencer’s relationship with his son had been estranged for decades. Ridley and Gloria are unwanted and unwelcome but tolerated because they’re family.

The grieving widow, Gloria, pleads with her son to give the Australian outback life a chance. Cooper, a family friend and farm hand, urges patience. He assures Gloria that Spencer is a good and fair man, though she doesn’t see any evidence of that. In fact, Spencer admits he doesn’t want his daughter-in-law and grandson. Ridley overhears him asserting they are nothing but a burden, but he feels compelled to accept them.

Spencer tries to connect with his grandson by taking him along on a “walkabout.” Ridley had never used a gun before. Even so, Spencer gives him a shotgun and instructs him to kill a dingo, or wild dog. The two find some common interest. Ridley interviews Spencer on wilderness survival, using a video camera given to him by his father.

However, problems erupt again when Spencer refers to his late son as a pain. Ridley confides that he knows his grandfather doesn’t want him there, so he runs away. Before he can get far, however, he overhears two thugs trying to burn down the family property. Ridley gets caught up in the melee and is kidnapped.

Ridley escapes from the two goons. Trying to find home, he’s lost in the dangerously hot outback, however. A dingo, Buckley, who Ridley helps out of a trap, is Ridley’s only friend. Buckley protects and guides the boy along the way. When Ridley lands himself unconscious and surrounded by fire, he needs more than a dingo to save him.

Meanwhile, Spencer shows some fatherly care and assures Gloria they’ll find her missing son. Will they get there in time, however?

BUCKLEY’S CHANCE is a slow-moving, sensitive movie about a dysfunctional family that tries try to make peace with their pasts and connect with each other. Too much of the movie is focused on the backstory where nothing really happens, which slows down the movie’s pace a great deal. The movie contains redemptive content which, is surrounded by the need for strong family ties. There are several scenes with guns, some violence, kidnapping, and ten uses of foul language. Caution for older children is recommended.