2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Few things are as reliably condescending as the histrionics that pass for realism whenever Hollywood gets its mitts on working-class, rural American characters. Well intentioned as it is, this hypersentimental salt-of-the-earth soaper jumps headfirst into that trap.

The tip-off is Charlize Theron’s presence both in front of and behind the camera as coproducer; her attraction to this stuff is officially think-piece- (if not intervention-) worthy. She plays a loudmouth white-trash diva and sister to a self-esteemless minimum-wage mook (Stahl), on whom she dumps her surly teenage daughter (surly Robb) before disappearing. Bro summarily gets fired, moves into the basement of a buddy (Harrelson, providing welcome levity) and loses his niece to foster care. After reuniting, the pair ends up crashing at the Utah farm of his bullying dad (Hopper as a hayseed Frank Booth). Big mistake.

Screenwriter Zac Stanford sidesteps the inherent trickiness of his subject (the adult legacy of child abuse) by rendering stick-figure characters as lifelessly ennobled as director William Maher’s imagery and pacing are flat. The result is TV-style pat tragedy, complete with a daft, patronizingly clichéd message—“Today is the first day of the rest of your life”—that’s repeated three times for our edification.



Release details

Cast and crew

William Maher
Zac Stanford
Nick Stahl
AnnaSophia Robb
Charlize Theron
Dennis Hopper
Woody Harrelson
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