Where This Meets That
This was our family movie this week. I’d never heard of it before Netflix gave it a high score for me. Because of its PG-13 rating, I was a little hesitant to watch with the kids before screening it personally, but the few reviews I found out there sounded promising enough that we let it spin.
So glad we did.
Lifted tells the story of 13-year Henry (Uriah Shelton) whose Marine reservist father (Dash Mihok) has just been called to active service in Afghanistan. This is particularly difficult for the Henry’s family, because his mother (Nicki Aycox) is a recovering addict struggling to stay sober and because Henry’s father is also his best friend.
He and his father share a special bond through music. Henry is an aspiring R&B singer / composer, and his father adds freestyle rap lyrics to complement his son’s style. The two actors have great chemistry onscreen and provide the film’s emotional anchor.
While the father is away at war, the family’s finances begin to choke adding another dimension to their struggles. Henry and his mother must find their own ways to cling to hope while trying to resist the growing power of old wounds that are fighting to resurface.
Lifted reminds us of the importance of unconditional love in the family unit and of pursuing dreams. Also, the film serves as a heartfelt tribute to the tremendous sacrifices all our servicemen and women and their families make every day. From a political standpoint, it successfully navigates the narrow road of depicting war as tragedy but warriors as vital heroes.
I highly recommend Lifted to watch with your kids. While it does depict drug use, addiction, racism, and child abuse, it does so in ways that give wonderful opportunities to have those important discussions. The American Idol-style competition serves as a great hook for the kids, while the weightier story lines give them substance to hold onto long after the film ends.
Lifted score: 4 Falcone Rings