Lost & Found

A.J. Cook in Bringing Ashley Home (2011)

It was a good idea at the time to allow her wild child little sister Ashley (Jennifer Morrison) to move across country and move in with her but after 3 months Libba (A.J. Cook) is beginning to question her decision as not only is Ashley not pulling her weight, living a party lifestyle, but she is also stealing to support her lifestyle and drug habit. After a confrontation Libba kicks her out and tries to get on with her life but a few months down the line learns that not only was Ashley arrested she ended up in a clinic where she was diagnosed as being bipolar. When Ashley goes missing again Libba devotes herself not only to trying tofind her but using her knowledge to try and help others in a similar situation.

Commendable may sound a strange word to use when it comes to a movie but it is the word which best describes "Bringing Ashley Home" a story which combines mental health issues as well as the difficulties a loved one faces in trying to find a grown up who has chosen to run away. But "Bringing Ashley Home" is not a great movie despite being commendable and whilst the acting from the central pairing of A.J. Cook and Jennifer Morrison is good the styling is distinctly made for TV low budget which at times ends up distracting.

Jennifer Morrison in Bringing Ashley Home (2011)

Now as I said "Bringing Ashley Home" is commendable because on top of all the usual stuff as Libba's relationships and career suffers whilst there are feelings of guilt over what happened we get other difficulties. We get to see how getting help from the police is impossible because Ashley is an adult whilst some services for runaways need to protect people so can't divulge anything. And we see the nasty side as after putting up missing posters Libba and her parents get late night crank calls from those who think it is funny to say her sister is dead. It is eye opening as is watching Ashley's descent in to living rough and suffering abuse at the hands of others.

It is credit to both the writers as well as actors A.J. Cook and Jennifer Morrison that this ends up as effective as it does with both the stars doing a good job of not just playing their characters but also bringing to life the ups and downs of the individual's lives. The trouble for me is that director Nick Copus tries to give the movie a washed out, cold styling which whilst at times is incredibly effective at others it becomes a major distraction.

What this all boils down to is that "Bringing Ashley Home" is an interesting drama which makes some very good points and opens your eyes to things. But at the same time it is not without its issues and there are times when the styling really ends up spoiling the flow and atmosphere as well as the detail.

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