… sacrifice, struggle and yet being lifted by the end of a movie? In the DVD Lifted, you will meet Henry, a really talented kid with a singing voice so powerful it will have you crying by the end of the film. Henry’s dad is a military reservist and is recalled to Afghanistan. This movie starts out really slowly, and you might feel that it is not worth your time, but hang in there to the end, because it just could change how you look at life.
Most families in tough economic times struggle with daily life, but for the military family, it’s even harder. If you are a single civilian parent, yes it’s really hard to keep things together, but in the military, it’s doubly hard. One or both parents could be called to serve at any time or even the same time. If you are a reservist, never knowing when you might be called to active duty can be frustrating for any type of plans you might make. Civilians don’t seem to understand the attitude or need to be consistently organized, the “do it now” feeling, and the constant fear a military family goes through. You never lose this feeling. You try to prepare for the worst and hope it doesn’t happen.
Can or could you cope? Back in the early 70s, military pay was about $1.25 per hour. You were “on call” 24/7. Do the math for a one-month period and then look at your life now. Military pay is still less than the minimum wage. While Henry’s Dad is in Afghanistan, his mom struggles to pay the mortgage, no easy feat on a military salary. Henry’s mom is a drug addict who goes to meetings, but when things start to fall apart, Henry and his mom go to live with his redneck grandfather who doesn’t approve of Henry’s singing or the way he dresses. A phone call from Henry’s dad is joyous, but a loud noise in the background disrupts the call. It’s not until much later in the film that you realize what actually happened, when a flashback shows the scene in Afghanistan during the phone call. When Henry is bullied by kids in his school, he takes refuge in a church. Henry meets the local preacher, played by Ruben Studdard, who takes an interest in his singing and encourages him to enter a singing competition. Henry expects his dad to be there.
Henry’s mom knows what happened with the phone call. She can’t cope and goes back on drugs, leaving Henry to his own devices and his grandfather’s mean streak. With determination, Henry makes it to the singing competition, and he does well with the help of his father. However, his father really isn’t there. (This is where you will need a tissue – possibly several.) Henry is eliminated from the competition, but when one of his fellow contestants drops out gracefully with an explanation that leaves you in tears, you will understand why Henry is back in the competition. As a tribute to his dad, Henry belts out Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan with such raw emotion it will leave you breathless. The ending is about everyday life and military “angels.”
Male or female, you will enjoy this movie despite the slow start, even with the tears at the end. It is well worth your time to watch this film and not fast forward through it.
Reviewed by Terry (staff)