Camp
by Phil Boatwright

Michael Mattera, Asante Jones, Grace Johnston, Matthew Jacob Wayne, Miles Elliot. Faith-based Drama. Written & directed by Jacob Roebuck. 110 minutes.

FILM SYNOPSIS: To impress a potential client, financial advisor Ken Matthews (Michael Mattera) signs up to be a counselor at a camp for kids in the foster system. Paired with Eli (Miles Elliot), a 10-year-old that is determined to hate camp, Ken’s annoyance by his camper’s antics leads to Eli getting into trouble with came director Tammie (Grace Johnston). However, when Ken discovers Eli’s dark past, his apathy turns to compassion. But how do you fix years of brokenness in just a couple days of summer camp? Inspired by true stories of ordinary people who provide extraordinary help for abused and neglected kids, Camp is a tale of hope shinning in the dark places for forgotten children.

PREVIEW REVIEW:These kids get a week reprieve from a rough life by going to a Christian-sponsored camp. Knowing this, some of the film is difficult to view. Though handled with discretion, we do see instances where a child is injured by an abusive parent. This and the other stories that reflect physical or psychological abuses are downright depressing. It’s hard to believe and difficult to live with the thought that someone could harm a child, let alone their own child. Now, who wants to see such depressing subject matter? Wait. It’s one you should see.

This is a film about something. And the last third of the movie is extremely touching and eye-opening. It makes us feel. What’s more, it makes us want to get involved.
It did surprise me a bit that a film meant for church-going audiences contained several mild expletives, some coming from a child, including the hurtful, “Go to Hell.” This may be off-putting, but while harsh obscenities are not included, the few expletives and crude terms may be off-putting from some viewers. I think the filmmakers kept these words in order to convey a reality without becoming excessive.

By film’s end you see what God’s love can do for relationships and it reminds us that even the smallest of kind deeds can affect the lives of others.

It is a touching, heartfelt film that will move you to prayer and involvement. Definitely worth seeing.

PG-13 (for mild, brief language and for scenes depicting brutality towards a child).

The DVD contains an insightful commentary tract by the director and other interesting, informative bonus features. For more information about the film and where to get it, go to WORDFILMS.COM.

Note to Teens: I pass this film on to you because it might help in understanding why some kids at school can be antagonistic. Sometimes when they’re being mean, it’s a defense system, because others who are supposed to love them, don’t. You just never know when a kindness to a belligerent classmate may affect his or her life in a positive way.