Our most recent review was the new movie Trust Fund, by Mapelle Films. The story sounded very good, and the trailer we watched was intriguing, so I signed up. We were also given a book that goes with the movie, Love Was Near. I asked Esther to write the review of the movie, since she is good at that, so I read the book. We watched the movie while we were at Mom’s house. At first, we weren’t sure about letting the boys watch it, since we had seen the trailer and there was a swimming scene in it, but it turned out not to be a problem. Everyone who was home that day (two boys were helping their aunt at work) ended up watching it.
Here is Esther’s review of the movie:
In some ways, I really enjoyed Trust Fund. The acting and videography were superb; I always felt like I was right there, listening in on the conversations or viewing the scenery. Overall, this is a gorgeous movie from that perspective. However, there were some things that I didn’t appreciate so much about the film—but I’ll get to those later.
Reese Donahue, aspiring author, does not agree with her father that she needs a job. What she’d like is to finish her book, become the next New York Times bestseller, then head back to Italy to be with her boyfriend. However, life seems to be conspiring against her, and when her agent refuses to give her another advance on her not-yet-completed book and her father refuses to give her money unless she gets a job, she feels stuck. Then she discovers that her dad has been hiding something from her and her sister since their mother’s death. She is suddenly faced with a decision—one that she, and only she, can make. Either go against the morals of right and wrong that she has been taught from little up in order to achieve her dreams—and in the process, destroy her relationship with her father and sister—or trust her father’s judgment and end up living and working in a situation that is what she would consider less than desirable. Are the costs worth the possible outcome? And when things turn out completely different than she had imagined, is there any way out for her? This movie can be intense at times as you wonder what she’s going to decide to do next. There were also a few funny bits that we all enjoyed. Like I said before, however, although I enjoyed some elements of the movie, there were other parts that I didn’t like as much.
While this movie doesn’t claim to be Christian, it bothered me that they used a Christian theme but didn’t really come across as Christian. The characters never said the name of God, or mentioned the Bible, so in the end there’s just a Christian theme used for this—the story of the prodigal son, but in this case, it’s the daughter. That was done very well, in my opinion, although fairly early on our family did figure out what storyline this movie was following, so it ended up slightly more predictable than some movies I’ve seen. My only problem with this was that the moral of the prodigal story was used, without attributing a real reason to it. Talking about this with my family, I mentioned that it reminded me of another movie we’ve seen—Time Changer. That story starts out with the main character, a professor, telling a boy that it’s wrong to steal—but he neglected to say who said it was wrong to steal. In a different context, that happening came up, and one of the other characters calls the professor out on it. Over the course of the movie, he ends up showing him that if the person who gave the law is not attributed (in this case, God), then after some time even the moral truth will be lost—because without the fear of the Lord as the moral lawgiver, there is no meaning to the moral law. All that to say—I felt like this movie was a little like that. Having the moral law, without a mention of the giver. In the end, it felt like it fell flat—as if even though everything turned out okay, there wasn’t any real meaning behind why the people did what they did. It could easily be that I just missed the main part of the movie—I hope so! As I said before, I did enjoy parts of it, although I could have done without some of the romance in there (I don’t agree with couples touching before marriage, and there were about five different kisses, if I counted correctly). In all, you might enjoy this movie; it could be that it’s just not my style.
Love was Near is the book Reese, the main character, wrote in the movie. In each of the 28 chapters of the book, she tells a little more of her story, then shares a diary entry. Then, there are a couple of questions for the reader, and lines on which to write journal your thoughts and feelings about the subject discussed in the chapter. Basically, then, this is a study guide for the movie. It really does add to the movie; in Trust Fund, there is no mention of God or the Bible. We were quite disappointed about that, but Love Was Near helps a little to redeem it in my opinion. There were some scripture references, and at the end the author makes it clear that the movie was based on the parable of the Prodigal Son. A couple of other Bible stories are referenced, as well. The bottom line, in my opinion? This book isn’t really needed in our family, but would be a good resource for young adults who are struggling with who they are and whether or not they are worth anything. The movie is pretty clean entertainment, if that’s what you’re looking for, just don’t be expecting a deep message.
Two more things I should mention: The filmmaker is a home school graduate; his parents were among the pioneers of the homeschooling movement. Also, there is a study guide available if small groups want to study the movie together. You can find it here.