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The Replacement Child (2007)

 -  Short | Drama  -  12 June 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 98 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 3 critic

After spending a year in a juvenile center for beating up his stepfather, Todd Turnbull returns to his backwoods hometown a repentant, deeply religious boy. When he finds his best friend, ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Burl Smith
Todd Turnbull
Michael Murphy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Geraldine Bartlett ...
Mrs. Murphy
Benjamin Chase ...
Choir Boy #2
Jarrett Lerner ...
Choir Boy #1
Carly Nolen ...
Meg Nolen ...
Henry Holman
Jeanette Turnbull
Drew Taylor ...
Mr. Murphy
Joseph Turnbull ...
Mr. Wilcox
Lauren Murphy


After spending a year in a juvenile center for beating up his stepfather, Todd Turnbull returns to his backwoods hometown a repentant, deeply religious boy. When he finds his best friend, Michael, withering away without any medical attention due to the family's spiritual beliefs, Todd must make a choice: let his friend die; or break his oath of non-violence and take matters into his own hands. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama


Not Rated

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Release Date:

12 June 2007 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$60,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.159 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Visually rich and atmospheric telling of a solid coming of age story
22 February 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The plot here sees a boy returning from juvenile detention where he has spent some time for beating up his step-father. His return to normal life sees him try to return to his old job and old life even as the past of what he has done stays with him. Meanwhile a very friend sick continues to only get worse as his religious family sit around him, praying to Jesus for help while ignoring Todd's assertions that probably the better approach would be to mix faith with a doctor.

The story here is pretty good but I must say that without the delivery it would not stand up as much. The theme of "religious idiots" is not an uncommon one in short films, perhaps because the community of creative types that tends to be involve would also tend not to be those clinging to their bibles and their guns in smaller towns. That said, here it is not forced down the throat so much as used as a story of a boy growing up, trying to shake off his past but also knowing what is the right thing to do. It doesn't totally satisfy as a narrative in terms of start/middle/end but I did care and was interested in the character, which I guess is all that matters at the end of it.

The delivery is impressively professional though. The colors in the film are richly brown and warm, you can feel the heat of the place and this compliments the tension of the community. I would have like fewer close- ups and tight shots and maybe given more room to a sequence rather than mostly edits, but it still has a rich feel to it that I liked. The performances are mixed but the key one works from Young, he is convincing and manages to be difficult but not so difficult that he loses the viewer; it is odd to see that his career on film so far is partly in short film but mostly as ADR voice work for major films.

The Replacement Child is solid but not a perfect film as I would have liked a bit more freedom and a bit more delivery but it is well delivered with rich atmosphere a good look and a good central performance.

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