Posted in movie reviews

Movie Monday – Safe Harbor

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
This week’s Monday Movie suggestion is Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor MovieSafe Harbor is the true story about an amazing couple, Doug and Robbie Smith, who found a ministry to take in troubled teenage boys. Their ministry came by accident.  It wasn’t Doug and Robbie’s intention to help the boys, who would otherwise spend time in prison.  They had quite different plans after retiring – to take a cruise in their boat and spend their days relaxing at sea.

Approached by a judge in their town, who asked the couple to take in three boys, the Smiths found it difficult to deny the judge’s request.  After all, it was this same judge who gave Doug another chance years ago when he himself was a troubled teen.

Cramming everyone into the tight living quarters of their small boat, Doug and Robbie devote their time to nurturing and guiding the boys who come from a variety of troubled backgrounds.  It isn’t easy, and at times the Smiths wonder if they’ve made the right choice. However, they never give up hope that they can truly make a difference in the lives of those who need them most.

This was an excellent movie of hope, second chances, and sacrifice. There are two minor swear words and viewers are shown the sad reality of severely dysfunctional homes and the result such homes had on the teenage boys. Due to some thematic elements including an attempted suicide, I would recommend this movie for those ages 12 and older.

My favorite thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true story. The Smiths are a phenomenal couple, and I enjoyed seeing the real-life Doug and Robbie during the CBN bonus feature at the end of the movie.  This movie will warm your heart and I highly recommend it!

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Posted in movie reviews

Movie Monday – The Jensen Project

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday Movie Suggestion is The Jensen Project…

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Full of on-your-seat adventure, special effects, and an intriguing plot best describes The Jensen Project, one of the several Walmart movies released for families.

Claire, her husband Matt, and their son Brody become part of an effort by a secret research group known as the Jensen Project to save mankind from being implanted with nanobytes. What happens when Brody is implanted with a nanobyte? Will the team succeed in their mission before it’s too late?

While not my favorite of the Walmart movies (my favorite is actually Tackling the Past, which I’ll be reviewing later), The Jensen Project is fun family fare that will appeal to all ages, with the exception of the very young who will likely be scared by the nonstop action/adventure scenes. There are some lessons to be learned along the way:

Brody doesn’t succeed very well at following this command. He lies to get out of school and sneaks off on a mission with a Jensen Project teenage apprentice. While the movie could have done a better job at reprimanding Brody for his disobedience, The Jensen Project did a great job at showing a true-to-life family struggling with managing busy workloads and in turn putting family on the back burner. It is this depiction of not making family a priority that shows the importance of showing the ones you love most how important they are to you.

There is nothing objectionable in The Jensen Project, and I would recommend it for your next family night for ages eight and above.

For a listing of movie suggestions, please see

For an archived listing of reviews for recently-reviewed movies, please see

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.


Posted in movie reviews

Movie Monday – Samantha: An American Girl Holiday – 4/16/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Samantha: An American Girl Holiday

Based on the books and the American Girl doll, Samantha, this movie takes place in 1904. Samantha Parkington lives with her wealthy grandmother, GrandMary on her beautiful estate. Samantha has previously lost her parents to a tragic accident and settles into her new life. GrandMary is loving, yet strict, and endeavors to teach Samantha all there is to know about growing into a presentable young woman in the early 1900s. Along the way, Samantha has many adventures, including some hilarious times that involve her rude and inconsiderate neighbor, a boy of about her age, who lives with his wealthy mother.

When three young girls and their father are hired to tend to the neighbor’s home as servants, Samantha quickly befriends Nellie, the oldest, and her younger sisters. Samantha teaches Nellie how to read and they become best friends, despite the wide gap in their social and economic status. When Samantha moves to New York to live with her Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia, what will become of the friendship between her and Nellie?

This is a wonderful movie and possibly one of my favorite American Girl movies, although it’s a close tie between this movie and other excellent American Girl movies – Felicity, Kit Kittredge, and Molly. (I will be posting reviews for those movies at a later date).

Samantha has a variety of great topics for family discussion. Loyalty, accepting others for who they are, honesty, dealing with grief, and standing up for what’s right (even if no one agrees with you) all top the list. There is a scene in the movie where Samantha, out of desperation, doesn’t display honesty. Is it ever all right to lie and/or to hide the truth?

There is nothing objectionable in this movie, and one of the things I love about Samantha is that it’s a movie for the entire family (yes, dads and brothers too!), although there is a scary part that takes place in a factory that will likely frighten little ones.

Samantha is a movie of hope and of courage and of how just one person can make a huge difference. I highly recommend it!

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.