All Roads Lead Home (2008)
Belle's (Vivien Cardone - A Beautiful Mind) life was good with a loving family until the night her mother took her eyes off of the road for a split second and crashed the car. Whilst Belle and her father Cody (Jason London - Out of the Woods) survived her mum didn't with Belle believing Cody taking the tough decision to turn off the life support. The loss of her mother changes Belle from a happy young girl to a moody one who blames her father for her mother's death. The death also affects her grandfather Hock (Peter Coyote) who can't get over the loss of his daughter and finds Belle a painful reminder of the daughter he lost. But things come to ahead for the family when Cody and the local vet start getting close and look into a series of mysterious animal deaths whilst Belle upset by Hock's culling policy on his ranch runs away.
There is a surprising amount going on in "All Roads Lead Home" with various subplots which are built around a family moving on after the death of a loved one, I believe all of which is either based or inspired by a true story. And because of such I have to say its heart is certainly in the right place and can see how for any family going through the trauma of moving on after the death of a loved one it could be beneficial especially for a family with young children who are struggling to understand.
But, and I bet you knew I was going to say that, "All Roads Lead Home" is so forced that it is at times painful. The contrast in characters from before and after the crash is too large as we watch Belle go from a bubbly young girl who borders on being annoyingly over the top to being withdrawn and moody to the point it feels forced moodiness. It is the same with Hock as he goes from loving grandfather to a man bitter over the loss of his daughter and getting bitterer with every passing day. The thing is that I can understand why it had to be less than subtle as it needed to be obvious for a younger audience but it makes it hard work for adults as at times it gets a bit cringey in being so unnatural.
Aside from this lack of subtlety "All Roads Lead Home" is still engaging if at times it feels like it is pushing various animal rights messages on the audience. Maybe it is me; maybe I am just a sucker for movies with their heart in the right place and so can put up with the forced nature better than others. I can also put up with the acting as well with the only performance which for me really worked was from the late Peter Boyle as a motel owner. But trying to put myself into the mind of a young child I can imagine the cast lead by Jason London and Vivien Cardone works as they have a certain easy going appeal about them.
What this all boils down to is that "All Roads Lead Home" has its heart in the right place and delivers a storyline aimed at helping a family especially children going through the trauma of losing a loved one. It does have a lot of issues from an adult's point of view yet as a family movie which is most certainly aimed at a young audience the lack of subtlety and forced characterisations will be less of an issue.
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