Ah, my first negative review for Medium!
Now, to be fair, Riding Faith is not a horrible movie. It’s not even the worst movie of 2020 (that crown belongs to The Devil All The Time, in my opinion.) And my enjoyment may have been impacted by the fact that I am not religious myself, and there is a strong Catholic tie-in. But, wow, was I not enjoying this as much as I wanted to!
The movie follows a new widow trying to raise a teen daughter while they both grieve their military husband and father, respectively. In addition to this struggle, they are also facing a foreclosure on their beloved ranch while the daughter has a crisis of faith.
And all of that already makes this movie sound more interesting than it actually is.
Now, giving credit where it’s due: I did like and feel sympathy for the characters. The individual moments were written very well. There were several moments that probably would have made me emotional in a better movie. And its ultimate message of “things will always get better” is a nice one, especially in this kind of year.
But none of that really compensates for the fact that, when all of those individual moments are put together, it’s nothing more than Catholic saccharine that tries harder to make you feel something than tell a story.
It starts off pretty strong, setting up many ideas that make it look like it’ll be a fairly cheesy, but genuinely heartwarming flick. But, over time, they began to have strikingly similar conversations about putting on a fight and “hope and faith” every five minutes with very slow advancements, and I realized just how passable this was going to be.
That’s not even to say anything about how the crisis of faith plotline is resolved in one of the dumbest ways they could have: a complete 180 during an awkwardly delivered prayer where she explicitly blames God for “taking” everything from her, then five seconds later, says, “I know you have a plan and know what’s best.” What?
Oh, and, after all this movie’s talk about how important it is to fight to make things better for yourself, the family ends up solving their foreclosure issue by doing absolutely nothing.
Like I said before, I am non-religious. Catholic people could potentially like this fine. As for my recommendation, though, I’d steer clear. Though it is available on Netflix if you really want to experience this…experience.