Movie Review: ‘Sand Castles’ Is An Interesting, Emotional Roller Coaster

Ten years ago, little Lauren Daly (Anne Winters; Wicked City) was abducted while on a family trip to the beach. Devastated, the remaining family members spend the next ten years battling against alcoholism, depression, and suicide. Sand Castles depicts a tragic story of a lost childhood and the lives affected by that loss.

Ten years on and Lauren’s brother, Noah Daly (Jordon Hodges), is taking care of his now alcoholic mother with help from his uncle Tommy (Randy Spence). Quick flashbacks reveal why Noah’s father is no longer in the picture; an event that also took its toll on their family. The household is squeaking out a type of existence although it is clear that Lauren’s disappearance hit them hard. But then they get a visit from the detective who has been on the case since he was a rookie. He informs them that they have found Lauren alive and it throws their new world for a loop.

Now a teenager and unwilling and/or unable to speak, Lauren tries to reintegrate into her broken family with the detective and a case worker looking over their shoulders. The case worker does her best to help Lauren, including taking her to a play based on a worn out book she carries around. But the presence of alcohol does not help. Lauren’s mysterious return also reenergizes the investigation into her disappearance. Clint Howard co-stars as an eye witness who believes he saw Lauren getting dropped off where she was found; an account that leads Tommy down a dark, potentially heart breaking path.

The use of flashbacks is nearly perfect in this film. They tended to be short little clips introducing characters or circumstances just when that information is most useful. For example, when the detective is introduced, they have a quick flashback to him as a rookie getting the call of a missing person (Lauren). It’s not too drawn out, gets the exposition out of the way, and keeps the story flowing at a decent pace.

Overall, Sand Castles is an interesting, emotional roller coaster. The characters are (mostly) likeable and the actors are very respectable in their parts. The plot is depressingly believable and shows that your world can change in an instant both for the worse and for the better. I would have preferred a bit more closure regarding Lauren’s kidnapping, but stick around during the credits for a bonus scene that does wrap up a few last threads of that mystery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.