After Haley Thompson suffers the loss of her parents in a fatal car wreck, she moves in with her almost estranged single uncle and his young son. Still trying to cope with her parents’ deaths and suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues, Haley discovers a new love and seeks to reinvent herself as they all attempt to move on from tragedy and make a life together as a new family.
A tragic loss, a disheveled teenager, and the rocky journey of recovery. This is the situation our viewers find themselves in with Hayley, a young lady who has lost her parents, and along with them, her passion, desire to live, and hope. Honoring her parents’ wishes, Hayley is sent to live with her well-meaning uncle Chad. On the heels of his own heartache, single dad and nervous wreck Chad must keep his composure to lift Hayley out of a life-threatening depression. Somehow, the pair, along with Chad’s young son Carter, must find a new path to normal.This film is dramatic, tragic, and raw. Mental health, death and grief are at the center of this story, and one cannot help but feel for Hayley and Chad as they navigate life without her parents. Hayley is spiraling deeper and deeper into crippling anxiety and depression. Uncle Chad is dependable, gentle, an admirable comforter in her time of grief. The story is as much about Hayley’s journey to live again as it is about Chad’s personal development to get her there. Once a talented musician, Hayley has abandoned everything she loved after the loss of her parents. At first, this odd couple seems as though it may never make any progress, but slowly Chad and Hayley build trust and lay the foundation for a solid relationship. One of my favorite parts of the film is when Chad tells his client he must go to the school because “one of [his] kids” is having an issue. Uncle Chad demonstrates selfless love for both Carter and Hayley, including her in the family and giving her room to work through her grief at her own pace. Hayley resists the piano like she resists life itself, and when she begins to play again, it is a signal to the viewer she is ready to resume living. This film is poignant, edgy, and has a voice worth hearing. The film walks the borderline in displaying content which illustrates mental health issues in a delicate but impactful way. Unfortunately, much of the film is filled with foul language that seems unnecessary and crass. There is plenty of drama to go around in Changeover, so it doesn’t really need any language or additional “shock” factor. The hope of it all, however, is that in a grim picture, a little light of hope begins to shine, and that makes it a film worth considering. Like life, “Changeover” is gritty and unpolished without magical fixes or two-minute conversations that suddenly make everything better. With some mature content to be aware of, Dove is still proud to award the film with approval for Ages 12+.