Riding in Cars with Boys
- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
Movie Parables' Michael Elliott finds the movie "a brave and bittersweet look at a life which is full of disappointments, mistakes, and … sacrifices." As usual, he finds sermon illustrations: "It shows us that consequences to our actions can have long-reaching effects. Unwanted teenage pregnancies are neither easy nor fun, and Bev's experiences serve as a warning to young girls that sex can lead to responsibilities for which they may not be ready."
Preview's Mary Draughon appreciates the film's "brutal honesty about the author's faults as well as her strengths." But she worries that "teenagers may think the messages about the consequences of immoral behavior … are no longer relevant."
The USCC calls it an "uneven drama" that "succeeds as a cautionary tale and in presenting realistic characters with warts and flaws, but the film's sentimental streak culminates in a cloying conclusion."
Annette Wierstra of Hollywood Jesus observes, "The film is loaded with characters that teeter at the edge of stereotypical, from the domineering father, to the no good junkie husband, to the struggling teenage mom. But instead of toppling over into flat characters, they remain full of personality and shades of gray." The story, for her, had the ring of truth. "Beverly balances poor judgment and immaturity with determination and love. We are all like Beverly. We form our lives by the choices we make, good or bad."
Focus on the Family's Lindy Beam likes what she sees: "Actions have consequences. Period. You can't escape them. What's more, foisting your problems off on someone else is not a good way to deal with those consequences. The movie exposes a lot of wounds. But it also leaves them open for healing." Nevertheless, the film worries her: "My fear is that, for teens with no adult support system,
The Dove Foundation's Holly McClure, writes in
The director was forthcoming about her hopes for the film in a discussion published in
The film's rare, even conservative honesty did not drive off mainstream critics. David Hunter at
Roger Ebert says, "A film like this is refreshing and startling in the way it cuts loose from formula and shows us confused lives we recognize. Hollywood tends to reduce stories like this to simplified redemption parables in which the noble woman emerges triumphant after a lifetime of surviving loser men. This movie is closer to the truth."
But some critics weren't so willing to go along for the ride. Rita Kempley in