FAITH OF OUR FATHERS – Review by Susan Granger

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This evangelical, Christian-themed saga revolves around two strangers united in their efforts to learn more about their fathers on an impromptu road trip to Washington, D.C. to visit The Wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Boasting a Beatles-inspired name, John Paul George (Kevin Downes) is engaged to Cynthia (Candace Cameron Bure), who’s eagerly planning their upcoming nuptials. At her suggestion, he embarks on a quest to find Wayne, the son of the man his dad befriended in Vietnam back in 1969. Read on…

John discovers that Wayne (David A.R. White) lives in a dilapidated shack, warily guarding a stack of old letters from John’s dad. When John requests to read them, Wayne demands $500 for each.

Deeply religious, John’s dad (Sean McGowan) often quotes from the Bible – John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” But Wayne’s dad (Scott Whyte) is a cynic, irritating their serious Sergeant (Stephen Baldwin), who turns up later to answer the question of how both soldiers died.

While the inspirational concept is certainly admirable, writer/director Carey Scott, working with co-writer Harold Uhl, along with Kevin Downes and David A.R. White, heavy-handedly telegraphs every plot twist ahead-of-time, and the Vietnam flashbacks are so amateurish that they lack credibility.

John’s dad is seen scribbling these precious letters in pencil on tiny scraps of paper in the battlefield as rain pours down; but when John views them, they’re clearly written on what appears to be pristine notebook paper.

Since the characters are superficially stereotypical, it’s difficult for actors to be believable. And when you realize that combining the protagonists’ names turns out to be “John Wayne,” it lands like a thud, like the proclamation: “I have a heavenly father who loves me more than an earthly father ever could.”

If you’re searching for faith-based films, I recommend 2014’s “Calvary” and “Ida” – which take both devotion and film-making seriously.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Faith of Our Fathers” is a faltering 4, preaching to the choir.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.