This last week, I was able to watch Come What May, a 2009 dramatic film made mostly by teenagers. In fact, I watched it twice, and bits and pieces of it a few other times. Very few people have watched it, as it has been given limited distribution. But limited release does not always mean poor quality. It even won the 2008 Redemptive Storyteller Award at the Redemptive Film Festival.
The main character, Caleb, asks a girl named Rachel (who happens to become his moot court partner, of course) if she'll go on a date with him. "Nothing serious," he says. She rejects his offer, saying she doesn't want to date anyone unless it is serious. Most people will think this is irrelevant, but to me, it showed good character in her, and the filmmakers. The film also showed a good presentation of courtship, keeping each other's families involved.
Their relationship wasn't the centerpiece of the film, though. Come What May's focus was on the issue of abortion, and more specifically Roe v. Wade. Caleb, Rachel, and others from Patrick Henry College moot court debated this issue "in front of thousands of people," as the film says.
If Caleb does not win the championship, his Mother won't pay his tuition for the following year at Patrick Henry College. He comes up with an alternate proposal that wouldn't require the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but would just make a small change to the law, and would, in all likelihood, win him the championship. He has to decide if he should do the right thing, come what may, even if it means losing in the court's opinion, and not returning to college the following year.
One of the better portrayed roles was Don Hogan (Caleb's father), who is played by Ken Jezek. He performed his role excellently, and his character was a good father figure (literally) to Caleb. Caleb himself (played by Austin Kearney) had a compelling script, especially near the ending when he debates in front of the court. Some of the other characters were well-acted, though others seemed too scripted.
Fireproof was the surprise film of 2008, and the highest grossing independent film of the year. That film, starring Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea, and Ken Bevel, was also made with a low budget. Come What May hoped to be such a success. Is this movie as blockbuster-worthy? After viewing both, I cannot see a reason why Come What May isn't as good; it was entertaining, purposeful, and absolutely worth watching.
This is not to say the film was Academy Award-worthy. As I said, some of the lines were cliché or unrealistic, and various scenes of the acting were true to its low budget. Nonetheless, the film wasn't messy with subplots, had occasional humor (sometimes unintentional), and made a good presentation of how Roe v. Wade can, or perhaps should, be overturned. Caleb says, "They tear the baby out of its only means of life support, and say 'Wow, look at that, our machines can't sustain its life,' and somehow, that proves it's not viable?"
Special features for the DVD include: a ten minute "Making of Advent Film Group" documentary, an "About Patrick Henry College" featurette, individual commentaries by directors George Escobar and Manny Edwards, a discussion guide, and film trailers for itself, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel. It was released on March 17, 2009.