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18 July 2017

Mapelle Films: Trust Fund {Crew Review}

Trust Fund Movie

It's a bit of a change of pace to review a movie, rather than books or curricula! But Trust Fund has a fun homeschool connection: the cinematographer and producer, Isaac Alongi, was one of the early homeschoolers: he and his parents started homeschooling in 1982. He's now the talent behind Mapelle Films. So we watched Trust Fund.

It's a prodigal son - or in this case, prodigal daughter - story, and the framework of this beautiful parable (see Luke 15) is the anchor for the whole story. Reese, the younger, free spirited daughter of a successful publisher is feeling confined by her life, and the need to pay attention to basic mundane things... like having money in her account to pay her bills. Like paying her own rent or working. She's writing a book, and that should be enough "adulting" to cover everything. She doesn't get along very well with Audrey, the older sister, the perfect one who does everything "right".

Like so many girls from good families, Reese has "bad boy syndrome": the man she falls for is bad news: he's a member of an Italian crime family. Reese steals from the trust her late mother had set up for the girls and runs away to Italy, little realizing just how much trouble she's getting herself into. She comes within a hair's breath of ruining her life, but, fortunately for her, she's the heroine in a movie, and the parable has a happy ending! It's a fun chick flick: my husband was completely uninterested, and my oldest son was pretty ho-hum about it. I should have planned things better and had a girlfriend over to watch with me, but I didn't think of it in time. Even if my guys were unimpressed, I thought it was fun!

There's some cool things about this movie. The story, even though you know the basic outline because it's based on the parable, still keeps you guessing, and there's a couple of twists that I didn't see coming. And the pacing was different in a fun way: When, as an adult, I got my own copy of Disney's Cinderella, I was really surprised at how the style of the older movie is different from more recent ones: there's lots less changing of the camera angle, and there's more space in the movie to just enjoy, or to reflect. Trust Fund reminded me of that, just a little bit: the pace isn't as frantic as some of the newer movies. Maybe it's because we watch so much of action shows (the comic movies are big winners at our house), but this was a really nice change of pace. As far as the content, although she's run away with a boyfriend, and when she comes home there's another love interest, the movie is refreshingly free of bedroom scenes or anything of the sort. The only possible complaint as far as "too much skin" is that all the young women in the movie wear these (really cute) very short skirts... and that's it. That's the only content "advisory" that a parent might need to be aware of... and it's nothing! (I probably wouldn't even have noticed, if it wasn't for the fact that I strongly dislike wearing short skirts myself, so I kept thinking, "cute, but probably uncomfortable".) A movie with no content advisories whatsoever is a lovely change of pace! I also like the way that they follow the parable in that, when Reese comes home, the movie is only half done. The second half of the movie follows Audrey much more closely, and looks at her struggles to cope with Reese's decisions and her dad's responses... and the love interest that threatens to "replace" their mother in his heart. The father really is an amazing person. I had never before realized how super-human a parent would need to be, in order to respond the way that parable outlines. It's an interesting thing to ponder, as a parent. I'd never thought about the Prodigal Son as a lesson book on parenting... I see that passage a little differently now.

Mapelle Films also has an interesting study guide to go with the movie. Honestly, I was more than a little skeptical about it: it's a movie... what're you supposed to "study"? But the study guide was thought-provoking. It's written from a Protestant point of view, and the study guide to me suggests it's been written from a "total depravity" understanding of human nature. Total depravity, which goes hand in hand with the idea of original sin, is a Protestant doctrine which holds that we are, fundamentally, wholly corrupt, unable to even attempt to follow Christ because of what they refer to as our "sin nature". LDS theology holds that we are responsible for only our own sins and not for Adam's transgression, and that while we exist in a fallen world, we are, fundamentally, the children of God (Romans 8:16), and made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), and being made in His image means that we are, at the core and in spite of the fall, fundamentally good and able to attempt to keep the commandments of our own will, though our imperfections in doing so mean that we must unavoidably rely upon the Savior's Grace. Still, even with these significant differences in theology, there was a lot in the study guide that was really thought provoking and beneficial to ponder. The makers of this movie have given long and careful thought to the parable that it's built upon, and they have a lot of insight to offer. These theological differences between Christian denominations in no way affect the movie; they only become apparent in reading the study guide.

There's also a companion volume -- you actually see it in the movie, which is kind of fun -- Love Was Near. It's recommended for girls age 12 and over, and since Peanut isn't even close, we didn't ask for that, but a number of the other reviews did, so if you're interested in the book or seeing other reviews, click the banner below:


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