Not Today: Movie Review
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Not Today, a new film produced by Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California, continues what Sherwood Pictures has done in film —reach a movie-going audience with life-changing, faith-affirming messages. Out in selected theaters, Not Today goes beyond a look at marriage and family to uncovering an evil permeating societies in the most detestable form of sex trafficking.
It’s been said that Not Today is “Slumdog Millionaire meets The O.C.” It’s unfortunate because it’s true. Though Not Today has the heart-pounding drama of Slumdog, it loses it luster in its trivial moments reminiscent of the unlikable TV show, The O.C.
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
Caden is a spoiled, California kid living off his parents. He cares for nothing but himself and wanders aimlessly through life with no sense of purpose or real plan. A trip with his buddies halfway around the world lands him in Hyderabad, India. There, Caden comes face to face with extreme poverty and the horrors of trafficking. His vacation turns into a race against time as he tries to track down a young girl who’s been sold as a sex slave by her father, who thought he was giving his daughter a better life.
THE GOOD AND BAD IN NOT TODAY
As mentioned above, Not Today has a little too much of The O.C., which bogs down its Slumdog Millionaire-esque storyline and ultimate impact. A quicker jump into the drama would have been preferred. Focusing so much on what’s happening in Caden’s life at home distracts from the impact of this incredible story.
Cody Longo as Caden Welles and Walid Amini as Kiran, the father who sells his daughter, are fantastic. Had the film focused even more on the journey these two take together, Not Today would get even higher marks. And the girl, played by Persis Karen, will grab your heart and not let it go.
Not Today is beautifully shot. In fact, it’s one of the best qualities of the film. The crew should be commended for setting such a memorable stage for this universally important story. To know that this has a church’s backing makes this film even more of an achievement.
Though a few of the ‘educational’ moments come across as rigid, the message of Not Today needs to be shared across all media, in anyway possible. Millions of women and boys and girls are exploited every day, even in America. Sharing the gravity and prevalence of this atrocity to effect change is something we can all support.
IN THE END
Not Today was made to help raise awareness of this tragic issue, and it does just that. Is it the film of the year? Perhaps not. But it doesn’t need to be. It has heart and that’s enough.
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