After the loss of their mother, 17-year-old Dylan, his two sisters, and father are forced to move back to the small town where their parents met and grew up. While getting back on their feet, the family stays with their eccentric Aunt Norah and tries to adjust to a new life. They meet a quirky neighborhood kid, Pete, who convinces them to embark on a “bucket-list” type adventure inspired by a list found in their Dad’s high school storage boxes. The task is not as easy as it seems and ultimately teaches everyone about managing grief, moving forward, and the importance of family.
Before Your Time is a family movie in every sense of the word. It deals with a family that must make adjustments in order to move forward. It deals with everything real families wrestle with—picking up the pieces when life has been unalterably changed. In this case, the change occurs when a family of three kids loses their mother, Michelle, when she succumbs to cancer. The dad, Jonathan, moves the kids away, and he learns later when they move back that the children resented the move.
The family consists of the oldest and only son, Dylan, his sister Samantha, and the youngest girl, Livie. Dylan hasn’t picked up a guitar since he learned how to play from his deceased mother. Samantha has a nice singing voice but is reluctant to sing. Young Livie deals with her family’s unhappiness by visiting the cemetery frequently where her mother is buried.
This movie features solid acting, a good story, and is set in a family-friendly environment. The realistic conflicts also set up a satisfying resolution as the family works through the pain and misunderstandings. Dylan learns his father and mother, and the owner of a music store, Alex, once had a list of goals they intended to reach. Dylan decides to finish the list. As he works for Alex he begins to proceed with the help of Samantha and a new friend named Pete. Despite his father referring to the list as “idealistic garbage”, the teens persist in finishing the list. One of the funny moments regarding the list is when Pete eats a huge burger, which wins him a T-shirt but leaves him feeling overfilled. Another funny moment occurs when Dylan, Samantha and Pete all crash a wedding reception as part of the “list.”
Romance finds Dylan in the form of a girl named Blaire. And Pete and Samantha share feelings for one another. Blaire, a wonderful singer and guitar player, attempts to help Dylan pick up his guitar again and play it but Dylan resists as it reminds him of his mother.
There is tension in the family too. Dad Jonathan resists revisiting the past but it seems to be the exact thing the kids need to do in order to make peace with the past and move forward. Jonathan also quarrels with the kids’ grandfather. Conversely, the film features some scenic moments including a gorgeous orange sky and a scene of buffalo.
The movie moves toward a grand finale when the kids are determined to sing a song written by their mother at the Summerfest, an event which features music from various local artists. Without giving the ending away, the song featured at the end by Dylan and his family is a stellar performance. The theme of the movie is to keep peace with your soul and strive to be happy and merits our Dove-approved seal for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
This inspiring movie offers a realistic story which offers hope for those who struggle with family tensions and conflict.