Once Beautiful Past (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

 Once Beautiful Past is the story of a guy named Henry Hall (Robin Calvert) who, years ago, had a wonderful family.  Unfortunately, during a move to Florida, they were in a car accident and his wife, the mother of his daughter, was killed.

It’s years later now.  He has Alzheimer’s and isn’t too with it anymore.  His daughter Jessie (Jennifer Linkous) is all grown up and in an abusive relationship, and he’s in a relationship with a woman who can’t stand his daughter even though she seems to love him and want to take care of him.  She’s got a trip all planned for them to go to Reno to get married.  The father’s main focus always seems to be to make things better with his daughter though, even though it’s a tough thing to do with his mental issues.  Eventually, Jessie leaves her abusive husband and makes up with her father and everyone’s happy.  Well, everyone except his girlfriend and the abusive husband that is.

This film was a little departure for me, since I very rarely review straight up dramas.  I actually found myself really feeling for the characters in this film and pulling for everything to be ok in the end.  When a film can make you feel that way about it’s characters, you know it did all the right things.

I think my only problem with this film is that it jumped around too much.  Other than that, it was extremely well written, well acted and had a really polished feel to it, both in it’s look and in the relationships between the characters.  It’s a bit confusing at first, but once you get into the story and things become clear, this movie just works.  It’s a great film technically, acting wise and also in the story itself.  It’s really a complete package and well worth your time to check it out.  Even if you’re not big on dramas, you probably won’t walk away from this one without really feeling for the guy and his daughter.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its website at http://www.oncebeautifulpast.com.