This is a 3-star movie that could have been a 5-star movie pretty easily. There are 2 parts that were so flawed, it knocked 1 star off for each of those scenes that were so terribly managed.
I'm not a spoiler so I'm not going to specifically address them but one is the ending. I literally rewound the movie twice to make sure I didn't miss something. I didn't. It just left a huge part of the story out.
The second was a very dramatic scene toward the end that made literally no sense. At all. Even by the most creative leaps, there was no way to piece the puzzle together. And both were important parts of the story that needed to be addressed and put together to bring the story to a conclusion.
So it blew it on both of those fronts, unfortunately.
As I watched this movie unfold, I wondered why I'd never heard of it because I love movies like this. By the final 15 minutes, I realized why very few people had heard of it given the flaws baked into the production.
I will say this: The acting was pretty incredible for independent movie status. I hadn't heard of any of the actors involved but the daughters all did an amazing job individually and collectively. The dad was brilliant in his portrayal...equal parts crazy conservative and grieving husband and desperate guy. Well balanced between concerned American, religious zealot and reasonable guy (which I'd imagine is a very tough spot to land on when acting a character like this.
I guess ultimately there are a lot of situations like this...movies that are on the cusp of being really good that fail in some respect where they end up as mediocre movies that fall by the wayside. It's unfortunate because the narrative is THAT important to the film and the experience. The sound, music, cinematography, acting, direction...lots of talent squeezed into this one.
The script just tragically failed the movie in a few vital points and nobody involved seem to catch it along the way and that's unfortunate. Typically there is a producer or line director who will watch the cuts and say, 'Hey, how did we get from point A to Point B?' Sometimes the directors are so close to their story and subject that they forget that the audience needs important blanks to be filled in for the story to make sense and if those are left blank, the entire production nose dives as far as how an audience experiences the story.
Still, it's worth a watch, particularly in this day and age in America. Crazy is a huge part of America's brand right now and this movie is on brand for sure. All the parts are there except 2 and even with those parts missing, it's still better than 90% of the movies studios are producing these days. Just such a shame it stumbled over itself. I believe otherwise this is a movie that would have swept some awards.
(I did see where the dad won an award for his role in this film...he's more known as a stunt coordinator but apparently quite the actor as well.)
IMDB lists this movie as having come out in 2018 but all other records I could find suggest it was released in 2020 so who knows. That may have something to do why it's relatively unheard of.