God Bless the Child
Five siblings, from age one to 13, spend a day on their own, uncertain whether this time their depressed and unreliable mother is really gone for good. Harper, the eldest and the only girl, looks after her brothers as she always does, as their day descends into fantasy and chaos. The story is set in Davis, California.
“God Bless the Children” is an unforgettable film that shows the realities of child neglect. The plot revolves around a teen girl named Harper who looks after her four younger brothers. The youngest, Jonah, is just a year old. Their mother, who has been depressed, left without saying when she would be back. Harper can’t reach her when she attempts to call her on the phone.
The boys’ big sister, Harper Graham, is the heroine of the story as she comforts the youngest when he cries, makes sure the others eat and are bathed, and reads a bedtime story to them. She covers the youngest with a blanket and kisses him. Yet she has a few moments when she feels alone and discouraged, uncertainty hanging over her head like a dark cloud. There are a few scenes, such as one of the baby crying and her attempt to get him to sleep, that go on for a bit long. The viewer gets the feeling that this is a movie about babysitting; but then maybe that is the point. The viewer identifies with Harper having to be the mother, rather than the sister, to her four siblings named Elias, Arri, Ezra and Jonah. However, she can’t be with them at all times; in one instance a boy walks on the roof alone and in another a boy uses a chair to get into the freezer, which could have led to an accident.
Harper is a teacher to her brothers, answering their question about plants and saying they are a creation of the Heavenly Father. We award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this film for ages twelve and above. It captures the stark reality of someone thrown into child rearing while she is yet a child herself.