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REVIEW: ‘Forever My Girl’ is the type of romance we need in the age of ‘Fifty Shades’

January 18th, 2018 / By: Michael Foust / comments

REVIEW: ‘Forever My Girl’ is the type of romance we need in the age of ‘Fifty Shades’

Liam Page is a world-famous country singer who has everything the world can offer: big houses, beautiful women and fans who idolize his every move.

Yet despite his wealth, he often thinks about Josie, the fiancée he abandoned on their wedding day eight years earlier in their hometown of St. Augustine, La., when he was young and immature.  

It seems they’ll never meet again – until providence intervenes.

A childhood friend dies, sending him back to that small Louisiana town for a funeral that is sure to put he and his ex in the same room.

Josie, though, isn’t amused by his presence, and neither are the townspeople, who view him as a spoiled superstar who turned his back on them. In fact, they despise him. Even his father – a pastor – is mad at him.

But time has a way of healing wounds, and when he learns that Josie is the single mom of a 7-year-old girl – his daughter – he decides he wants back in Josie’s life. What will she do?

The PG-rated Forever My Girl opens in theaters this weekend, starring Alex Roe (The 5th Wave) as Liam, Jessica Rothe (La La Land) as Josie, and Abby Ryder Fortson (Ant-Man) as their daughter. It’s based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin.

Forever My Girl is a charming and entertaining movie that gives us something rarely seen on the big screen: a mostly squeaky-clean romance with no bedroom scenes, no rough language and no distracting bad acting. It’s the type of film that I’d likely take my daughter to watch – if she were a teenager. It’s also the kind of family-friendly romance we need in the age of one-night hookups and Fifty Shades.

Warning: moderate spoilers ahead!

Violence/Disturbing

Minimal. Upon seeing Liam, Josie punches him.

Sexuality/Sensuality/Nudity/Romance

Minimal. Early in the movie we see Liam in bed, shirtless. A woman is out of bed and dressed, and although nothing is discussed, it is implied they slept together. Later, we see him alone in bed with only shorts on. Josie wears a somewhat low-cut dress with no back. They kiss twice. We also see them slow dance.

Coarse Language

Minimal.

Other Positive Elements

Because Liam’s father is a pastor, we hear samples of sermons during several church scenes (including the funeral). We hear the pastor speak about the “grace of God” and forgiveness. We also hear about someone possessing “God-given talent.”

Other Stuff You Might Want To Know

Josie drinks beer in a casual setting but doesn’t get drunk. Liam goes to a bar and apparently does get drunk--he drinks several times in the film.

Josie had learned she was pregnant with Liam’s daughter two weeks before the wedding. She chose to keep the baby, although Liam never knew about the girl.

Life Lessons

The movie gives us lessons on taking responsibility for your actions (Liam), repenting (Liam), forgiveness (Josie, others), and riches not bringing happiness (Liam). There’s also an implicit pro-life message, although we never hear any discussion of whether Josie considered anything other than keeping the baby.

Worldview

I’m a sucker for movies about redemption. Perhaps that’s because the Bible is full of stories about men who committed awful acts – Moses, David and Paul, just to name three – but who found forgiveness. Forever My Girl gives us that element, even if it isn’t strictly faith-based.

But there’s another reason I like Forever My Girl. That’s because it’s a film about taking responsibility. Sociologists tells us that many if not most of society’s ills can be blamed on the “unattached male” who doesn’t take responsibility. In this movie, we see just the opposite.

Thumbs Up … Or Down?

Thumbs up.

Discussion Questions

  1. Would you have forgiven Liam?
  2. How does age and maturity impact our decision-making?
  3. What do you think led Liam to abandon Josie?
  4. Why do you think it took so long for Liam to return?
  5. What can we learn about fame, riches and happiness from the movie?

Entertainment rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Forever My Girl is rated PG for thematic elements including drinking, and for language.