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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Melodrama > Religion > Faith > Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (2022/Sony DVD)

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (2022/Sony DVD)

Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Film: C

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (2022,) starring Bart Johnson as father Steve Parston, and Carrie Wampler as Abby Parston, his oldest daughter, starts off by introducing Steve as the quintessential successful business man. During the opening montage, the film showcases his desire to be a traditional family man, celebrating an acquisition that allows him to continue to provide the best of everything to his family, which includes wife Connie (portrayed by Robyn Lively), and three daughters: newly graduated Abby, who has acquired her MBA; sixteen-year-old rebel Zoey; and grade-schooler Bridget.

Steve is proud - exuberant, even - of how well his life is going according to his plan. The acquisition goes off without a hitch, and he's prepared to bring Abby on board to work with him, all according to a similar plan he put in place for her years prior. The problem is... Abby has her own plan, which includes marrying a missionary named Oz and moving to Kenya to continuing their ministry work, all to take place in the next month.

Predictably, Steve has difficulty with this, and much of the movie focuses on attempts to get Abby to realize that her choices aren't aligning with her dreams, her plan, or what's in her best interests, all according to Steve. It isn't surprising that scenes include a competition between Steve and Oz to see who can paint the fastest, an attempt to steamroll Abby's wedding plans by touring a lavishly over-the-top venue, and an accidental reading of a list of everything wrong with Kenya at Abby's engagement party.

Oz's father senses the tension between Steve and his daughters - Abby as well as the other two - and provides him with a copy of a book, titled ''Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters,'' indicating that it helped him raise his own three daughters.

The book seems like a good vehicle to get Steve to reflect on his own behavior, how it impacts his relationships with his girls, and start to implement changes throughout the remainder of the film. And this is where the movie falls short. Rather than leveraging the book as an agent of change to set the pace for the rest of the movie, the script calls for Steve to set the book on his nightstand, where it promptly gets knocked over and forgotten about. When Steve rediscovers the book, he reads it in the span of a night - along with the Holy Bible - and literally, overnight, modifies his behavior to accept Abby's choices, fix his relationship with his middle daughter, Zoey, and spend more time with his youngest daughter, Bridget.

Overall, and largely because of this overnight conversion for Steve, the movie has a Hallmark Channel quality to it - predictable and unimaginative, with just enough plot elements to keep viewers watching, waiting for that inevitable happy ending.

The moral of the story is clear for viewers, albeit cliched: raising strong daughters isn't just about providing a good living for them. It's about living... living in a way that encourages his daughters to live on their own, and on their own terms.

As a Pureflix film, the movie takes a wholesome approach to the storytelling elements of the plot, without any cursing or violent content (other than a nosebleed from a soccer ball that is kicked too hard). It also has spiritual undertones, as Oz's parents are Christian missionaries (as well as Oz and Abby), and they tell Steve that they prayed for their son's future wife. Steve also says he prayed for Abby's future husband as well. Though it's not stated outright, Steve's overnight transformation as a father seems to be influenced by his Christian beliefs, as he reads the Bible along with the ''Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters'' book.

The film runs for a total of 94 minutes.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 are just fine for this older format, but the production shows its digital origins. There are no extras.

- Christen Stroh


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