I was intrigued to review a new PureFlix movie called Hope BridgeThe subtitle is Where there is hope, there is life. 

Isn’t that true of all of us?  When we grieve, the emotions ebb and flow.  Sometimes we lose hope and nearly cave in to despair, while at other times we are riding on a wave of renewed strength that is mysteriously sustained by hope.

What is hope, anyway?  My personal favorite definition happens to be the anticipation of what is promised to us.  I happen to be a believer in a personal God, so the “what is promised to us” comes from the benevolence of a Creator who loves us and created us into being for a specific purpose.

Hope Bridge follows a teenager named Jackson, whose father has recently committed suicide.  The family is grief-stricken as Jackson, his sister, and his mom desperately try to regain some sense of what happened while experiencing that burden and emotional depletion we all know so well.  Jackson, unlike his mom and sister, can’t let go of what happened and – more importantly – why his father chose to end his life.

Not an overtly expressive young man, Jackson begins to have violent outbursts both at school and at home, most likely related to complicated grief (e.g., grief that is unresolved or repressed).  He becomes obsessed with piecing clues from his father’s home office and “hidden” life outside of home in order to trace what might have pushed his father over the edge to end his life.

Along the way, Jackson meets a lovely young lady named Sophie through a mandatory group counseling session that his school offered as help for Jackson following a suspension from battering another student.  Sophie is an open book, very authentic and entirely unafraid to be honest about her past…which includes a suicide attempt.

Sophie and Jackson become quick friends, and she helps him on his quest to meet his father’s mother – his grandmother – whom he never knew, in order to discover the peace he so desperately longs for.

Along the way, his counselor, Eric, meets him at Hope Bridge.  Eric tells Jackson in a gripping climax, “Pain is not your enemy.  It’s the fear of the pain – that’s your enemy.  Face it.  Right here.  Right now.  You will not drown in it.”

Jackson breaks down and realizes that he simply cannot control what happened to his father or run away from the residual heartache and betrayal or anger.  By acknowledging his grief and entering into that place of pain, he is able to make peace with the not knowing why.

Hope Bridge is an intense movie that I would not recommend for small children or anyone who is not ready to face their own pain regarding the suicide of a loved one.  But for those who are ready to stop feeling the darkness, the burden, and the endless confusion, this is a great movie to begin the healing process.  It’s a powerful tale of loss, yes, but ultimately of the hope that is available to all of us who grieve.

Text Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.
Image Copyright 2015 “Bench” by Antranias on Pixabay and edited in Canva by Jeannie Ewing.