SAVING SARAH CAIN
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Lisa Pepper as SARAH CAIN
Abigail Mason as LYDDIE
Soren Fulton as CALEB
Danielle Chuchran as ANNA MAE
Elliot Gould as BILL
Developed by: Michael Landon Jr.
Studio: Fox Faith
BY KEVIN CARR
When I first heard of the film “Saving Sarah Cain,” I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to see it. In general, I haven’t been a huge fan of the Fox Faith line. Too much cheese and not enough quality, if you ask me.
However, I will be the first to admit I’m wrong when something good comes down the pike. Perhaps it was the heart behind the story. Perhaps it was the pretty decent acting by Lisa Pepper carrying the film in the title role. Perhaps it was the direction of Michael Landon Jr. Whatever the case, I found something very likable about “Saving Sarah Cain.”
The film is an adaptation of a book about a big city writer who becomes the guardian for the children of her deceased sister. The twist is that her sister had joined the Amish church, and Sarah has to decide whether to take the kids to her world or find a way to let them stay in the plain life. Sarah chooses to bring them back to Portland, Oregon with her.
While she’s learning about her new family, Sarah is chronicling her journey in her syndicated column. At the same time, the kids are trying to fit in with their new school. Some are rebelling against the school. Others are rebelling against the plain life. It’s not a perfect situation, and it’s up to the characters to find what the problems are and discover the best solutions to them.
There are many aspects of “Saving Sarah Cain” that makes it rise above the level of a basic TV movie. The story tugs at the heart strings when it’s appropriate, but it doesn’t yank them so hard you get taken out of the film. A lot of the success of this film is due to Lisa Pepper. She manages to play the role of the hard-nosed career girl yet give a realistic level of sympathy and understanding.
There’s no great epiphany for Sarah Cain or any of the other characters. Rather, this is a film that shows how two vastly different lifestyles resolved themselves in a culture clash. Abigail Mason also does a fine job as the elder daughter who is thrust into the role of the Amish mother to her siblings. Also, Elliot Gould does a quick supporting role as Sarah’s newspaper editor, bringing a level of class to the projects.
The DVD comes with an extended behind-the-scenes featurette that take the audience through several stages of the film, from script adaptation to production. There’s also a slate of deleted scenes.
When all is said and done, there are cheesy moments, mind you – especially at the end. And the lesser actors in one-liner roles deliver some terrible dialogue with terrible acting. However, as a character study of just a few people, “Saving Sarah Cain” works quite well.