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McFarland USA
Inspired by the 1987 true story.
by The Dove Foundation
A Letter To Dad - DVD
A Letter To Dad - DVD
A film based on a true, touching story of how faith and love can overcome a lifetime of pain and anger.
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A Letter to Dad

Dove Rating
Dove "Family-Approved"
Recommended for ages 12 and over

Video Release: 9/22/2009


Dan Donahue (Thom Matthews) has finally met the woman of his dreams. But on the night he is going to propose, he is overcome by deep-rooted anger caused by the father who abandoned him as a boy. Dan confronts his feelings of bitterness head on as he pours out his heart in a letter to his father.

As Dan writes, we see his life unfold, feeling his pain and ultimate joy, as we watch him grow from young boy to troubled teen and finally into a strong, spiritual man. In the end it is Dan's father, played brilliantly by John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop I,II, III) who must face his own failures as a father in a climactic one on one meeting with the son he left behind.

Based on a true story, A Letter to Dad is a touching story of how faith and love can overcome a lifetime of pain and anger.

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Dove Worldview:
This is a powerful drama! Many people will relate to this well-acted, tightly directed and edited film. Johnny Remo knows how to direct a drama. The editing of this film was honed several times to present the tightest story possible and it works very well. This story will touch a lot of viewers, particularly anyone who has dealt with some kind of difficult relationship, divorce, or abuse in the family, which covers a lot of humanity in the viewing audience.

This is a well crafted story. The theme is that fathers need to be there for their kids and this movie very strongly shows what happens when they're not. Dan Donahue meets a young woman he falls for. However, his memories of the father he adored, and yet who often ignored him, are painful. He writes a letter to his dad in order to make peace. He reflects about the times his father would pick him up following the divorce from his mother, and how his dad would go drink or do very little with him. His father's bitterness towards his mother was constantly something his young ears heard. His temper was something his father couldn't seem to get past.

John Ashton is terrific as the father Mike and Corin Nemec, Thom Matthews, and Adam Ryen are all fantastic as Dan at various ages. In his letter to his father, Dan includes a photo taken previously which shows a teen aged Dan with his arm around his father, but his father does not reciprocate the affection in the photo. However, the awesome ending in this film gives hope that things can change.

There are some scenes of partying, including the smoking of marijuana and drinking; but there are consequences including their depression and a girl's suicide; and young Dan wakes up to realize he needs to move on with his life. He turns to God and there is a brief but nice church scene in the film.

We are pleased to award this film our Dove "Family-Approved" Seal. Even the music, composed by Matt Gates, is terrific in this movie. This is a movie which needs to be seen! It is nice to see such a powerful drama with no crude language or profanities.

Read an exclusive interview with director Johnny Remo

Content Chart & Description

Content ScaleSexLanguageViolenceDrugs & AlcoholNudityOther

Sex: A couple kisses on cheeks; a couple kiss; a discussion about waiting until marriage for sex.
Language: G/OMG-2; A few words like snot and jerk are briefly used.
Violence: A man who has been drinking throws a bottle of beer at the bathroom door in his motel; a few loud arguments between a few couples; a girl has slit her own wrists and blood is briefly seen.
Drugs: A man drives drunk; teens party and drink and smoke marijuana but some consequences are seen and the main character leaves this life behind; talk about rolling marijuana cigarettes; smoking cigarette.
Nudity: None
Other: A character deals with the memory of his abusive father before he can marry a woman he loves; the pain of divorce; teens race cars and police chase them; some arrests of teens; a girl commits suicide and her friends deal with the loss; a nice church scene and talk of God helping us to change.

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Quote For The Day
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong."
- 1 John 1:9

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