12 May 2008 | newsview
Dark movies are a dime a dozen, as are romances. Someone writes a "sappy" movie about the Amish and it's bad?
This comment is an attempt to balance out a "review" that broad brushed the acting in "Saving Sarah Cain" as wooden, the situations unrealistic, and the movie nothing more than sappy and clichéd. There was no sense of giving the reader the pros and cons to this film. As such, the author's "take" on the film had more to say about his or her film preferences than it did about the merits of the film itself.
While the premise of "Saving Sarah Cain" is somewhat of a stretch relocating orphaned Amish children to a big city in order to live with an "English outsider" the film is nevertheless intriguing and heartwarming.
To read such harsh criticism, however, one has to wonder if there some "rule" that says a good movie must be dark, depraved, brash, violent, sardonic or just plain jaded? If these harsh criticisms had been applied to yet another romantic comedy, I would say that the man-meets-woman premise has been milked to death and probably does deserve some of those criticisms. However, "Saving Sarah Cain" is not at all shallow, shows no disrespect or flippancy toward Amish culture, and the subject matter itself is not at all overdone. The acting on the part of the Amish children's characters was sensitive and convincing to the point of wondering if they somehow WERE drawn from among the Amish (or had lived among them in order to become true to their mannerisms). In addition, the situations and the psychological reactions to them were portrayed well enough to make the characters believable, though it is, in fact, based upon a work of fiction.
It would seem that the review presently leading the pack for this film advanced the idea that a "real movie" cannot be touching. However, I would say that sentimentality is not the problem. To the contrary, it is much harder to portray that which is innocent, earnest, restrained, modest or pure than it is to portray the hardened, jaded, disturbed, dysfunctional or brash characters that many dramas either call for. Of course, we're not living in the Silver Screen era, so it should be no surprise that this sort of movie the director, script and its actors would draw criticism from those who think there's only one way to make a decent movie: the way everyone else is doing it. I cannot name one film or work of fiction that does not follow a protagonist/antagonist formula, so the "cliché" criticism in the prior review is nothing more than a Red Herring.
In conclusion, if films that focus on an uplifting ending and steer clear of violence and stereotypical subjects and characters do not appeal, don't blame the director. Blame it on the fact that NO such movie is one's cup of tea. You'll never see me write a horror movie review because I would not do the subtleties of the horror genre justice. Likewise, I do not wish to read another review written by someone who obviously doesn't "get" the audience to whom "Saving Sarah Cain" is directed. There are some people who like to post reviews simply because they are contrarians and are under the impression that intellectual and artistic prowess must be demonstrated via criticism. The art is never good enough. The wine is never good enough. The films are never good enough. You get the idea
"Saving Sarah Cain" gets my vote for a movie well worth watching.