This epitomizes what I think Heartland Film Festival is about. Challenging us to see and act differently. To open our hearts to the possibilities of change from deep community. To see our incredible need for connection and meaning. Calvin needed Produce as much as Produce needed Calvin. They filled a hole for each other. They were iron sharpening iron, each challenging the other to make them stronger.
It would have been easy to fall into cheesy campy film making with this plot...washed up sports hero meets downs syndrome boy at grocery store. But somehow it felt, as a viewer, that you were actually a fly on the wall watching a friendship form in an authentic, organic fashion. The timing of their meeting felt pre-ordained, like something bigger or higher was putting them together at the right time. I loved the religious undertones. Real without shoving it in your face. But faith portrayed as something that provides hope and encouragement, is real and worth having.
As a viewer, I wanted Calvin to find meaning for his life and daughter. And I wanted Produce to have a family and attain work success despite his simplicity. But as the tale was told, it wasn't tied up with a pretty grosgrain ribbon. It allowed pain and suffering and self hatred and pity to resonate in a way that was identifiable. The viewer knows people like Calvin and his daughter. People you can't help but love and pull for, even when you are ticked at their selfish pity party, and bratty teenage ways. We could all use more Produce in our lives.
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