Even though I’ve reviewed several of the newer mystery films from Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, it has been awhile since I’ve talked about a Hallmark-esque movie. In fact, the last movie of this kind I reviewed was The Carpenter’s Miracle back in March. Since the last two movies that were covered on 18 Cinema Lane were darker, I chose a film that was somewhat lighter. Recently, Up Network aired the 1990 film, A Son’s Promise. Prior to watching it, I had never even heard of this title. However, I am familiar with Ricky Schroder’s acting work, especially his projects from Hallmark. So, I decided to choose A Son’s Promise as my next movie to review! I haven’t heard many people talking about this film, so this review is a perfect opportunity to give an under-rated movie a chance to receive a “standing ovation”!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: A common factor I noticed while watching the acting performances is the amount of sincerity the actors put into their roles. This is definitely the case for Ricky Schroder’s portrayal of Terry. Not only was his performance sincere, but there was also a pure goodness that showed through. In one scene, Terry is sad that he lost his job. As he carries out his tear-filled explanation, you can always tell his heart is in the right place. Veronica Cartwright’s portrayal of Dorothy also contained a genuine goodness to it. She was able to successfully show the gentle nature that humans can sometimes have. No matter what the situation was, Dorothy always remained calm. Donald Moffat did a good job portraying Paw Paw! He brought a sense of believability to his role that was convincing. A good example is when Paw Paw is in the hospital. You could feel the fear and uncertainty of that circumstance because of the quality of Donald’s performance. Despite his limited presence on screen, Donald brought a very memorable role to life!
The messages and themes: Movies like A Son’s Promise are known for containing messages and themes that are important and relatable. In this film, one of the messages relates to dealing with loss. At their mother’s funeral, the youngest son in the O’Kelley family asks if they are leaving their mother in the cemetery. Terry tells him no by telling him and his brothers that they will always carry their mother in their hearts. An overarching theme in A Son’s Promise is trust. When speaking with Dorothy, Terry confesses that he is the only person he can trust. Through Terry’s interactions with various characters, we can see how placing trust in others or choosing not to do so can shape someone’s perspective. This theme also shows how the company we keep can make or break a person.
The scenery: Because this movie takes place in rural Georgia, the surrounding scenery reflects this type of location. Near the O’Kelley family’s house, expansive farmland and rolling hills can be seen. Soft yellows and hints of green make up this location’s official color scheme. Other locations that are shown include a forest and a lake, which boast hues of green and blue. Similar to the aforementioned farmland and hills, these settings are serene and have a peaceful quality to them. Even the cemetery appeared as a tranquil space, with the orange of the fallen leaves set against the gray of the headstones. All of these locations gave the impression that time can stand still and there are places that can make people feel safe.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Some brothers receiving more character development than others: This story is about Terry trying to take care of his six brothers after his mother’s death. Because of the large number of siblings, it is difficult for some of the brothers to receive character development. The movie revolves around Terry, giving the audience an opportunity to truly get to know him as a character. Two of the older brothers are given some character development, while the four younger brothers don’t receive much character development. It also doesn’t help that the four younger brothers were in the film for a limited amount of time. Overall, I felt like I never really got to know Terry’s brothers, but only became familiar with them.
Dorothy’s role in Terry’s life: I liked the character of Dorothy as well as Veronica’s performance. However, Dorothy’s role was under-utilized in this story. When she first meets Terry and his brothers, Dorothy tells them she has more authority than a lawyer and how she has a multitude of resources. But, throughout the film, we never see her professional role in action. Sure, she helps Terry at times. She becomes a shoulder to cry on and provides a listening ear when necessary. However, Dorothy isn’t shown doing much to help Terry’s brothers. I’m not saying Dorothy’s role wasn’t important. I just don’t think its inclusion was effective.
A drawn-out story: The story of A Son’s Promise is centered around Terry trying to get his brothers out of foster care so they can stay together. Since this is the film’s primary focus, it causes the overall story to feel drawn out. I understand this procession would take a significant amount of time in real life. But, in the movie, it makes the project feel longer than its given run-time. Whenever Terry experiences adversity, it felt like the process became prolonged. It got to the point where I heard myself asking “How much longer until Terry finally catches a break”? Because of how drawn-out the story was, some details were glossed over. Throughout the film, a local appliance salesman steps in to help the O’Kelley family. His intentions are never made clear and he also doesn’t provide a reason for wanting to help. The lack of answers for these questions are the result of the drawn-out story.
My overall impression:
One of the most common types of film that is covered on 18 Cinema Lane is Hallmark/Hallmark-esque films. Not only do I enjoy talking about these projects, but it seems like my readers, followers, and visitors like reading about them. So, I try my best to include these films on my blog. I thought A Son’s Promise was a fine movie. The project contained elements that would normally be found in a movie from the Gold Crown company, such as quality acting and significant themes. But there were also flaws that prevented the film from being greater than it was. One example is how the overall story was drawn-out, causing the picture to feel longer than two hours. What surprised me about A Son’s Promise is how there was no mention of the real life O’Kelley family, despite how this film is based on a true story. In movies like this one, there is, more often than not, a message about the true events and/or a photo of the actual people the project is based on. Maybe the family wanted to protect their identity? If you like Hallmark films, specifically of the Hall of Fame variety, you may enjoy A Son’s Promise. Even though there are movies of this nature that are stronger than this one, its heart is in the right place.
Overall score: 7.1 out of 10
Have you seen A Son’s Promise? Do you like the movies that Up Network has recently aired? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!