God Bless the Broken Road (2018)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 7, 2018 (USA), Sep 7, 2018 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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In God Bless the Broken Road, director Harold Cronk (known for Christian-based films like God's Not Dead) aims to tell a story about maintaining religious conviction in the face of adversity. However, the film ends up screaming "American patriotism" through a conglomerate of over-used clich├ęs: think NASCAR races, an army narrative, and an unyielding faith in God possessed by every character. Though this can certainly be appealing to a specific subset of people, there is simply not enough drama to entertain a wider audience.

In a small Kentucky town, single mother Amber Hill (Lindsay Pulsipher) struggles to make ends meet after her husband Sergeant Darren Hill (Liam Matthews) is killed during a tour in Afghanistan. As she's figuring out how to raise her daughter Bree (Makenzie Moss) while working overtime at a local diner, a reckless NASCAR driver, Cody Jackson (Andrew Walker), comes to town and immediately takes to her. It is safe to assume that most audiences could probably piece together what happens next somewhat easily.

Amber's faith constantly wavers as she wonders how God could let these things happen to her, but every few scenes, someone will remind her to "lean on her faith" in these trying times. It's enough to make audiences yell out, "we get it!" Another central idea is Bree's mustard seed, which she plants in the hope of showing her mother the power of faith, and the growth that comes to the faithful. This heavy-handedness makes the plot feel almost like an afterthought to the true narrative: a devotion to God will always save you from anything that is happening in life

God Bless the Broken Road does have some redeeming qualities, which make it at least somewhat watchable. Pulsipher is enjoyable to watch as Amber - her grief is convincing, and her relationship with Bree is as every bit endearing as it is believable. The movie's eponymous song "God Bless the Broken Road" makes a quick cameo at the end, which is a treat for Rascal Flatts fans. Ultimately, for all the complexity that God Bless the Broken Road strives to convey, the film is only skin deep and is instantly forgettable.