Helping Each Other Find The Way Home (Movie Review)

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans6 Minutes

Just the Facts

Produced, directed, and written by Lance Dreesen and released by Lionsgate media, watching The Way Home is well worth your time!

This based on a real event movie invites you into a family experiencing the horror every parent fears: a missing toddler. Dean Cain gives a strong performance as the workaholic but adoring father (Randy). The stressed wife is played by Lori Beth Sikes. The child actors give solid portrayals of children, and young Joe presents as a wonderfully impish toddler. The extensive cast—grandparents, friends, church families, and community members—realistically represent the way tragedies touch hearts and move people to action.

A Little Entertainment

Have a box of Kleenex nearby as you watch this movie but rest assured, it IS inspirational and uplifting. The Way Home powerfully conveys the challenges of life and the intensity of fear and guilt amid a crisis.

The movie begins with the Simpkins family feeling the stress of vacation preparations and rapidly descends into the frantic horror of a missing child. As soon as Randy (husband and dad) arrives home, Christal (wife and mom) vents her built-up frustrations by barking out orders. Instead of heeding her instructions, Randy opts to leave their two-year-old free to roam while they finish packing the vehicle. The movie unfolds from that one fateful choice.

Learning takes place in the head and the heart, and the power of a movie like The Way Home is that it allows you to FEEL enough of the heartache to learn the lesson—without enduring the trauma. And that is the desire the Simpkins shared with The Daily Citizen News after the release of the film: “Christal and I are very excited about the opportunity to share our testimony. We hope others can learn the same life lessons we did without having to endure the things we did that day.”

There’s so much you can take from this movie: priorities, serving others, humility, or the value of faith. But let’s zero in on two: clear communication and trust that God is here.

A Little Deeper

Communication Matters—In the opening scenes, viewers have an opportunity to see the good intentions of Randy. He’s likeable, hardworking, a good dad—and totally irritating to his wife. She’s a little difficult to like at first, but the movie moves on to show her in a much more favorable light—a beloved friend and a fun mom with a deep desire to live well.

But anyone who has been married knows that getting to the heart of matters without muddying up the scene with hurts and hang-ups is tough! And orchestrating the efforts of an entire community involves whole new levels of communication. The little Georgia community that came together should be proud—they did a great job! Here’s a short three-step process that can improve communication for all of us:

ASK—Be transparent about your needs and communicate those needs. Don’t try to bully or manipulate. Meeting one another’s needs is a shared responsibility in every relationship, but remember God is your shelter and source of all. (Psalm 63:1, 1 John 5:14)

BOND—Honest sharing is a gift of trust that must be met with acceptance. Forgive as you are forgiven. Face challenges as a team and you’ll conquer mountains! (Ephesians 1:7 and 4:32)

CREATE—Healthy relationships are life-giving. When you communicate clearly and grow together, you’ll be energized and able to give to others. (Psalm 37:4, 1 Corinthians 13).

Divine Orchestration—Coincidences and Christianity are competing concepts. God is active and at work throughout our lives. But His ways definitely are not ours, and we don’t always like them. Only God can use a lost child to heal the broken heart of a stranger—you’ll have to watch the movie to understand that one! But I promise you, The Way Home infuses hope into hearts about God’s good intentions—and His attention to our hearts. Faith sustained this family in the midst of the tragedy, and it produced some incredible outcomes. Here’s some scripture that can encourage you when your earthly plans feel tangled and terrible.

God’s aware of the details (Luke 12:7) and knows about every happening (Matthew 10:29).

God is all those “omnis” you learned in Sunday School:

  • Omnipresent—always everywhere.
  • Omniscient—all-knowing.
  • Omnipotent—all-powerful

God’s the source of love (1 John 4) and the God of Hope (Romans 15:13).

God knows just how to bring good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

When you know the King of Kings, you really do have a friend in high places. He loves you. He really is working everything out for His glory and your good!