Saving Sarah Cain (2007) Poster

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9/10
Dark movies are a dime a dozen, as are romances. Someone writes a "sappy" movie about the Amish and it's bad?
newsview12 May 2008
This comment is an attempt to balance out a "review" that broad brushed the acting in "Saving Sarah Cain" as wooden, the situations unrealistic, and the movie nothing more than sappy and clichéd. There was no sense of giving the reader the pros and cons to this film. As such, the author's "take" on the film had more to say about his or her film preferences than it did about the merits of the film itself.

While the premise of "Saving Sarah Cain" is somewhat of a stretch — relocating orphaned Amish children to a big city in order to live with an "English outsider" — the film is nevertheless intriguing and heartwarming.

To read such harsh criticism, however, one has to wonder if there some "rule" that says a good movie must be dark, depraved, brash, violent, sardonic or just plain jaded? If these harsh criticisms had been applied to yet another romantic comedy, I would say that the man-meets-woman premise has been milked to death and probably does deserve some of those criticisms. However, "Saving Sarah Cain" is not at all shallow, shows no disrespect or flippancy toward Amish culture, and the subject matter itself is not at all overdone. The acting on the part of the Amish children's characters was sensitive and convincing to the point of wondering if they somehow WERE drawn from among the Amish (or had lived among them in order to become true to their mannerisms). In addition, the situations and the psychological reactions to them were portrayed well enough to make the characters believable, though it is, in fact, based upon a work of fiction.

It would seem that the review presently leading the pack for this film advanced the idea that a "real movie" cannot be touching. However, I would say that sentimentality is not the problem. To the contrary, it is much harder to portray that which is innocent, earnest, restrained, modest or pure than it is to portray the hardened, jaded, disturbed, dysfunctional or brash characters that many dramas either call for. Of course, we're not living in the Silver Screen era, so it should be no surprise that this sort of movie — the director, script and its actors — would draw criticism from those who think there's only one way to make a decent movie: the way everyone else is doing it. I cannot name one film or work of fiction that does not follow a protagonist/antagonist formula, so the "cliché" criticism in the prior review is nothing more than a Red Herring.

In conclusion, if films that focus on an uplifting ending and steer clear of violence and stereotypical subjects and characters do not appeal, don't blame the director. Blame it on the fact that NO such movie is one's cup of tea. You'll never see me write a horror movie review because I would not do the subtleties of the horror genre justice. Likewise, I do not wish to read another review written by someone who obviously doesn't "get" the audience to whom "Saving Sarah Cain" is directed. There are some people who like to post reviews simply because they are contrarians and are under the impression that intellectual and artistic prowess must be demonstrated via criticism. The art is never good enough. The wine is never good enough. The films are never good enough. You get the idea…

Ignore them.

"Saving Sarah Cain" gets my vote for a movie well worth watching.
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9/10
Excellent
engineer1032526 January 2008
Powerful, funny, heartwarming, and triumphant, Saving Sara Cain is a captivating film directed by Michael Landon Jr. and featuring performances from Academy Award nominees Elliott Gould and Tess Harper.

Sarah Cain (Lisa Pepper) is sweet, successful, slightly self-absorbed and a city girl through and through. But when the untimely death of her sister draws her to Amish country for the funeral, she makes a discovery that will changer her life; she is now the legal guardian to five Amish nieces and nephews! Desperately trying to juggle the kids, her career and her comfort level, Sarah must reevaluate her priorities as she prepares for the biggest culture shock of everyone's lives! My wife and I really enjoyed watching this movie. It is on par with Michael's other works; beautiful cinematography, score, storytelling, etc. We can sure relate to the challenge of living in the world, but not becoming of the world. Highly recommended.
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7/10
Gentle, easy to watch (possible spoiler)
cmjudy199821 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It was a little predictable, and sappy, but I found it to be gentle and easy to watch. I say 'easy' because it did not have heavy topics or scenes that could make you uncomfortable, especially if you were watching it with a child. Michael Landon, Jr. directs this film in a style similar to his fathers. He is careful when shooting the office 'tart' so that we get the idea without really having to 'see' everything. I especially enjoyed the shots of the Amish families ... I would have liked to see more of that. If you are a fan of Beverly Lewis then you will love this movie. The only thing that I didn't find real was the relationship between Sarah and her boyfriend. At one point he seems upset with her taking on the children but then he seems later to be for it and yet I did not see a transition into that.
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8/10
I love this kind of movie
trammie728 April 2008
I loved the movie so much I watched it three times. It showed people in desperate, difficult situations, either from within themselves or from circumstances beyond their control, and how all those things were ultimately overcome. How could I not love it? It started with despair, pain, and betrayal, but further on everything changed with hope, comfort, understanding, and love. Most importantly, it had a point. If some missed it, maybe later, somewhere down their own road, they'll see what it was.

I would have given the film a 10 until I saw the deleted scenes on the DVD and thought they left the best parts of the story on the cutting room floor. Perhaps they were removed because the theme of family, love, and God might have been viewed as too strong, or one-sided, or forcing someone else's beliefs on the audience. Their absence may have caused some to regard it as 'sappy', or then again, maybe not. Each of us sees things from our own perspective. What I consider my loss - the deleted scenes, some others' loss (in my opinion) - what it was really all about.
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6/10
Pleasant light entertainment
junk.mail.only19 October 2008
This wasn't particularly exceptional, in my view, but was very well done for what it is, as a light comic drama. Yes, it is a feel good type of film, and even commits the sin of having a happy ending. If you would prefer to see a tale of violent vengeance, of some sort or another, this isn't your film. And, if you are a fan of car chases...you may have to settle for a horse and buggy.

And while this has one or two moments which are a bit contrived, or even slightly preachy, or maybe even after-school-specialish, on the whole it isn't too heavy handed. And a genuinely interesting story, as well as some solid performances (especially by Lisa Pepper as Sarah), make this a worthwhile effort.

On the downside, the available material as far as culture clash, individual and group identities, and the relationship with the outside world isn't too deeply mined, and we instead get a surface treatment with a few symbolic moments which seem to be treated as needed plot devices, rather than moments for a deeper exploration of character or human behavior. The story and characters could have benefited from a more thoughtfully developed script in some of these moments.

But the writing is stronger on the subject of family relationships, which is more the focus here than the relationship with the outside world. And the film does well here, exploring Sarah's relationships with her departed sister, with the man who wants to marry her, and with the family she had for too long lost contact with. The least engaging performance there may have been Tom Tate, as Bryan. But while he does come across as a bit wooden, and dull, that is pretty much what the character required. It is obviously part of the message of the film, that Sarah at times hasn't been as appreciative of the plain, but reliable and virtuous Bryan as she maybe ought to have been.

And, ultimately, the film itself takes on some of the same characteristics it seems to admire in Bryan and in the Amish. It is a bit simple, and at times dull, and at others a bit too preachy, but overall solid, reliable, and well intentioned, and able to find joy in the simpler pleasures of life.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised then that this was directed by Michael Landon, Jr. The overall approach is similar to that of the "Little House on the Prairie" series in which his father starred. You might add or subtract a star or two according to whether that appeals to you.

Whatever the limitations of the genre however, this type of family entertainment can be done poorly, or it can be done well, and this example is at least above average.
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9/10
Well done movie. Great soundtrack!
paulreid9924 July 2008
Michael Landon Jr. is great at writing for his core audience. My wife and I loved the movie and even my 8-year-old came in and started watching it. It has solid acting (*except* for Elliot Gould, IMO), especially for children in difficult roles.

I can't believe that a movie of this quality was originally made on a cable network budget! The soundtrack is among the top 5 that I have ever heard. It really captures the emotion and drama and features some great modern but sensitive tracks by Mark Mckenzie featuring a couple outstanding tracks by Sixpence None The Richer and Barlowgirl. I rarely say "Wow, that was a great soundtrack," (last time was The Mission, I think) so it really stood out, especially since TV movies usually have lousy soundtracks.

If you like Michael Landon Jr.'s other movies (or the typical "Hallmark" movie), you will love this one.
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10/10
Amazing
rfrankssr19 August 2007
This one is not to be missed. The writing is brilliant, the acting pitch perfect and the direction of Michael Landon Jr. reminds me of why I loved the films of his father. Cultural barriers are so well presented but handled with loving care that it makes you appreciate, or should appreciate, the differences in us all. I lived in Amish country for 17 years and came to love the simple, honest life of these people. And even though differences exist, we all have the same hopes and desires, the love and compassion as human beings, no matter what our exterior looks like. My hat is off to everyone for such a moving production. No spoilers here, just watch the movie. You won't be disappointed.
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6/10
nice movie, almost totally inaccurate depiction
gj13us11 May 2009
It's not a bad movie, and is rather touching. Definitely sends the 'right' message for young people and families.

I live in Lancaster, PA. This movie is so full of inaccuracies about the Amish that I can't give it a full recommendation. Please don't watch this and assume you've learned about the Amish and their way of life.

We laughed when we heard the Amish 'elder' speaking--Amish don't have German accents! And Amish bonnets don't look like that. I could go on.

Suffice to say, the Amish aren't at all as innocent of our way of life as we'd like to believe them to be.
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9/10
Excellent acting, writing, directing - a touching morality tale.
matowakita6 August 2008
I've been an extra on over a dozen movies and this is the one I'm most proud to have participated in. Although it is a bit predictable, that doesn't lessen its emotional impact and touching story.

Lisa Pepper gives a subtle and effective performance. This is the first Michael Landon, Jr. film I've seen and he's an even better director than his father.

Elliot Gould gives a fresh spin to what could have been a cliché -- the hard-bitten news editor. His gentle humor makes the role more than it would have been in lesser hands.

The kids manage to be cute, while avoiding diabetes inducing sweetness.

If you are looking for a family film with unusual depth and feeling -- this one of the best.

I also highly recommend the DVD for it's interesting and insightful features.
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9/10
Not JUST feel-good movie
lsavron6 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I LOVED this movie - and I not only watch a lot of them, but I'm pretty discerning about not watching garbage. This movie not only had a great moral point; the acting was superb and the character development was fantastic. Nothing shallow here. Some of it was a bit far-fetched - such as the overnight decision to allow custody without court hearing, no comments about HOW they arrived in Oregon - did they fly? If so, what did the kids think of that? Also, after seeing the cut scenes I had to wonder why they were omitted, especially the endearing part with the littlest girl - SO sweet.

I was, overall, transfixed and touched. I live not far from a huge Amish community, and will now look at these hardy, committed folks as individuals, not oddities.

It's also GREAT to have a movie that affirms FAITH! We need more like this one!
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5/10
Pretty good, but it has many inaccuracies
tjdancergirl0036 June 2010
Overall this was a good film, but being friends with some Amish people and living close by, the inaccuracies bothered me. The plot and storyline were good and the actors were pretty good, but the directing could have been a little better. The inaccuracies, mainly the way they pronounced Lancaster and the fact that they spoke high German instead of Pennsylvania Dutch, just seemed to ruin the movie to me. It also bothered me that they didn't use the right accents. If you don't know any Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch, you will most likely think this is a pretty good movie. If you know the Amish or some Pennsylvania Dutch you won't enjoy this movie as much. I did enjoy the fact that they portrayed them as people not just "outsiders" as they usually view the "English," but, in my opinion, if you are going to include the Amish in a film, it should be a little more accurate to their culture.
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9/10
A Thought-Provoking Triumph
richievee27 April 2013
This is one powerful movie that somehow manages to transcend the wide chasm between mainstream and message. The acting is superb, the writing is fresh and believable, and the production qualities are top notch. Considering the unlikely premise, this had all the makings of just another manipulative barf bag of Hollywood drivel. But in the sensitive hands of Michael Landon, Jr., it speaks to the audience with the voice of truth. Can I single out one performance above all the others? No way. The kids are wonderful, Elliott Gould hits a home run, Tom Tate is convincing and likable in a thankless supporting role, and Lisa Pepper is absolutely "real," causing us to see her character as an actual human being instead of a screen persona. Resembling a young Jennifer Aniston, she knows just how far to take her character before crossing the line into screen histrionics. Terrific! Mark McKenzie's music, while not quite reaching the sublime heights of "The Last Sin Eater" (2007) is lovely and unobtrusive, at times punctuating the dramatic moments with a light and never maudlin touch. Even the high school students are not the expected stereotypes. It is clear that Landon set out to craft a special film of honesty, solid values, and cinematic integrity, and he succeeded brilliantly on all counts. I recommend "Saving Sarah Cain" without reservation.
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10/10
Saving Sarah Cain
grammom1169 March 2009
This is a great family movie!! My husband and I watched and started to reminisce about Michael Landon and all the wonderful movies and series he did. Our children grew up watching "Little House on the Prairie" Now we hope that Michael Junior can do the same. I think he already has. I do hope that some day Michael Landon Jr makes a series for TV. Suggestion: How about a series about Saving Sarah Cain? Oh this is such a good movie. I purchased the sound track also. The music was relaxing and the movie touching and honest. The Landon's are a gift from God. I would recommend this movie for a nice family night at the movies with pop-corn, blankets, and a box of puffs!! AMEN 3/9/09
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3/10
Sappy Mess
jazza9236 January 2008
Michael Landon Jr. comes up with yet another one of his sappy, unlikely and totally predictable movie. The acting by the entire cast, (save Elliott Gould), is wooden and not at all convincing. Over sentimental and filled with cliché's. It is supposed to be a "feel good" movie, but instead it becomes a "feel nauseated" movie. The script is not written with any feeling of living in the real world. The way people talk, their situations are completely made up by director Landon's vision is what real people are like. He apparently has no clue as to how people are in the real world. Diabetics beware! This sugar coated concoction could be fatal!
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4/10
Gorgeous cinematography, weak script, dull direction
lstrom6 August 2009
Do family films have to be devoid of edge and energy? This rather bloodless, tepid story should have been good. Even with an interesting concept, the story line has no surprises or revelations, and from time to time makes no sense. The main character and her boyfriend have zero, and I mean ZERO chemistry. Elliot Gould has the newspaper editor she works for is wasted, with some ploddingly delivered lines that might have been brighter had it not seemed as though everyone's dialog was delivered very slowly on purpose.

The charming kid actors struggle to bring something believable to the boring dialog and for the most part do the best job of making the film watchable.

The omnipresent and cliché score got on my nerves, never letting the story tell itself. This is worth watching, though, for the utterly breathtaking look of the film, especially the Amish farms in winter. Every frame is painterly and perfectly composed.
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7/10
A respectful but somewhat inauthentic film
ghost-345 July 2008
"Saving Sarah Cain" is a respectful look at a Pennsylvania Amish community. Like the film "Witness", it assumes that its characters are rational people with understandable motives for the choices they make, rather than members of an altogether alien world. There is a minor problem with the attributed location of the story. Although the movie was filmed partly in Lancaster County, PA, a comment is made that Pittsburgh (not Philadelphia) is "the nearest big city". This only makes sense if the characters are members of the New Wilmington, PA Amish community, or of nearby towns. The Western Pennsylvania Amish are a thriving and interesting bunch, and authenticity here would have added to the flavor of the film.
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1/10
Yet another sorry American TV(?) picture
tanghus31 December 2009
So goddamn awful you wouldn't believe it. I feel sad for the Amish people who may have a TV-set to watch this on and I feel bad for the actors and everyone else participating in this piece of sabby typical American of - yes I don't know what to say. The movie had it's funny moments but the story was so predictable that I even was surprised at the ending! It may sound self contradictory but I couldn't even imagine that Sarah would be actually "saved" in the end. But what could one think of such a movie coming from a country where a lot of people actually believe that The Big Bang happened thousands of years after the Babylonians figured out how to brew beer. The are so many great movies made in North America that I haven't quite lost my faith (sic!) in you but this is NOT one of them.
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2/10
Tired Acting and a Poor Story
hjason-241-60347417 December 2011
There is little that is good about this movie. So lets get those out of the way right off the bat. The soundtrack to the movie very good. Its easy to caught up in the lyrics and the themes they convey. On the other hand the score of the movie is God awful. It just makes every scene more sappy and over dramatic. The other good part of the movie the photography. The landscapes are shot beautifully and convey a great bit.

Now on with the rest. The actors is bad in many facets. The lines are delivered in the worst ways. I can hardly believe a single accent in the movie. Most every line is delivered flat and wooden, just drippingly awkward. I'm not sure why the director thought every person should give their dialogue as slowly as possible. The relationship between Sara and her boyfriend is laughable. I'm not sure how anyone can feel for Sara and consider her a likable protagonist. Also why do Amish people speak German. This isn't the case with the Amish I've ever met. The movie also seems like it wants to be respectful to the Amish but ends up insulting them at every turn.

Do your best to steer clear of this stinker. If you want to watch a night of bad movies throw this one in English.
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