Movie Title: Love, Kennedy
Rating: PG, 92 minutes
In a Nutshell: Based on a true story, this movie requires a box of tissues when watching. The touching film will break your heart and fill it with love at the same time. Written and directed by T.C. Christensen, it’s perfect for LDS families whose faith will be strengthened, but also uplifting and inspiring for those not of the Mormon faith.
- Love one another.
- “God has bigger plans for your family.” - missionary
Things I liked:
- I love watching Jasen Wade in all of his movies. Partly, I think it’s because I think he’s handsome, but mostly because I think he does a great job evoking real emotion. His acting is believable and flows easily.
- 5 year old Kennedy, played by Scarlett Hazen, is absolutely adorable.
- Teenage Kennedy, played by Tatum Chiniquy, is so pretty with such a gorgeous smile, perfect teeth, and the long, beautiful hair I wish I had. She did a great job and glows with the beauty from within, which is even better than the outside.
- I was impressed when someone said something unkind about Kennedy and her father patiently explained her illness. When the person apologized, Kennedy's mom simply said, “That’s OK. You didn’t know.” Oh, that more people were kind and forgiving like that.
- Kennedy’s little brother’s name is Beau, played by Brennin Williams. I have a son named Bo, so I immediately liked him.
- I loved seeing pictures and videos of the real people at the end of the movie. Keep watching during the final rolling credits.
- Many of the scenes were actually filmed in the Hansen family’s real home, as well as other locations where Kennedy’s experiences took place.
- I was impressed that Jason and Heather Hansen's faith never seemed to waiver. I'm sure that in real life, they often struggled with the unique challenges that their family faced, but they held tightly to each other and their faith, so they were able to bear it all so beautifully.
Things I didn’t like:
- Viewers who aren’t Mormon won’t recognize LDS Primary songs or Book of Mormon stories that are referenced in the film, but they aren’t crucial to understanding the story.
- The movie can get heavy with sad scenes, one after another. There is an attempt to include some lighter moments, but overall it’s a really sad movie.
· This will never be a big Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s a touching story that will make you hug those around you a little tighter.
- It feels a little bit more like a loving eulogy than a feature film, but that doesn’t mean it won’t tug at your heart. It lacks tension and arc that are the time-tested formula for great films; however, this sweet tribute to a remarkable young woman and her family is respectful and inspiring.
- “Maybe it’s a part of the plan.” – Heather Hansen (Heather Beers)
“I’d like to see a copy of that plan!” – Jason Hansen (Jasen Wade)
- “She thinks she's the best cheerleader in the world.” – Jason
“She is!” – Heather
- “Get aggressive! That’s how we stand up to a bully!” – Jasen
“But Daddy…why not just love her?” – Kennedy
- “Today’s going to be a great day.” – Heather
“It always is.” – Kennedy
- “Can anyone tell me why Kennedy doesn’t have any challenges?” – coach
“Because she doesn’t see them that way.” – cheerleader
- “When you hug her, you can feel the goodness, the beauty she has inside.” – coach (Wow, I'd love it if people felt that way about me when I hugged them!)
Tips for parents:
- This movie is 98% sad, so be prepared. Your teenage daughters will bawl their eyes out. Your sons will make up some excuse to leave the room.
- To learn more about Batten Disease, go to www.bdsra.org
- If you want to cry some more, check out the book based on the true story Kennedy's Hugs
- No profanity or objectionable material at all. Thank you!
- There is, of course, a lot of discussion of death.
MOVIE REVIEW MOM