Review by Mark Merrell
“So Shines A Good Deed In A Weary World.” Unbridled Is A Beacon, Providing The Promise Of Love & Healing
Sarah Miller (Tea Mckay, Trunk Space, Hurricane Bianca, Texas Zombie Wars), a seventeen year old, keeps to herself, not saying much. She lives with her mom’s boyfriend, Roger Donigal (Eric Roberts, The Dark Knight, The Expendables, The Cable Guy, Inherent Violence) a guy you love to hate. He’s arrogant, controlling, and abusive. Sarah’s mom, Karen Miller (Dey Young, Pretty Woman, Rock ‘n Roll Highschool, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Red Eye) is battling alcoholism. Trying to keep her family together, but taking abuse, both physically and mentally.
The movie opens as the day begins in Sarah’s home. Roger sets a creepy tone with her, as Sarah gets ready for school. He wants her to go with him out of town. Sarah explains that her mom doesn’t want her to go. He pours some alcohol in a glass. Knowing that alcohol is a weakness for Karen, he wants ply her to get his way, and take Sarah with him, which he does successfully.
The film moves ahead, as Sarah and Roger head inside from their trip out of town. It’s early, and time for her to get to school. She grabs her backpack, heading out of the door. As she walks down the street to school, she reaches in her backpack, pulling out a skimpy nightgown, among other non-appropriate items, throwing them with anger down a sewer.
Her friend, Kenny (David Topp, One Tree Hill, The Shunning, Our Father) sees this. He rides up on his bicycle, looks down the sewer, seeing the items Sarah just tossed away. They head to school together. While in class, her English teacher realizes Sarah’s demeanor has changed. She’s not herself. After class, she talks with Kenny, and he explains what he witnessed concerning the negligee she got rid of.
The school councilor calls in family support. Her mom’s boyfriend is arrested by Detective Mitchell Sangrin (T. C. Stallings, War Room, A Question Of Faith, God’s Compass). The Detective has been dealing with the loss daughter who’s gone missing. Roger Has been sex trafficking Sarah and other girls.
Sarah is sent to Safe Haven, a healing ranch for troubled teen girls, featuring rescued horses. The ranch is run by Felicity Clawson (Jenn Götzen Chandler, Frost/Nixon, God’s Country, Doonby, God’s Dead 2), a strict, no nonsense nice person. Sarah’s adventure begins with the girls staff, and her newly adopted paired horse, as she and the girls face their their fears, and issues together.
The movie is based on a real ranch located in North Carolina, where horses aid in a therapeutic environment. Unbridled was written by Bonne Barton (Savage Land, It Watches, Kites), and Christy McGlothlin (A Long Way Off, Mommy Talk Live). Directed by John David Ware (The Chronicles Of Hernia: The Lion, the Ditch, and the Studio), he provides a consistent, touching, entertaining movie. All of the actors are believable, bringing their characters to life from the heart.
Unbridled touches on a relevant timely topic. However, other similar areas, including abuse, depression, and alcoholism are also a part of the struggles for the other girls as well. It’s a heartwarming movie, reminding us that even in our darkest hour, there are agencies to help turn around our lives, staffed by good hearted people, and the unconditional love of animals.
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