Do you enjoy a good story with compelling and memorable heroes and heroines? This monthly column features homeschooled characters in literature and film. Wish you had your own copy of the book or movie? Just click on the product image or text links to go to the author’s site or Amazon to buy it!
16-year-old Dior (Savanah McMahon), in a scene from A Box of Faith (2015)
“My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~John 14:27
There’s homeschooling, unschooling, world schooling, and RV schooling, but what about homeless schooling? Teens living on the street have enough trouble finding a place to sleep, let alone a place to study. How prepared will they be to earn a high school diploma and get a job or enroll in college?
Well, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way. A Box of Faith is a movie with a unique storyline that takes an extreme situation and applies the concept of faith, combined with the inner gifts of a teenage girl, to help viewers see the importance of trusting God in all circumstances of life.
After her mother dies from cancer, 16-year-old Dior and her dad are staying in a Motel 6. It’s not really clear why, but for some reason they don’t have a house and their stuff is in a storage unit. When her dad is arrested for doing something that he didn’t do, Dior is forced to live on the streets. Ms. Ward, a social worker, makes it her mission to try and track down the clever teen, but the girl always manages to stay a step ahead.
Dior, with her positive attitude and practical outlook, is a great role model for teen girls. I love the fact that she is depicted as very intelligent and resourceful for her age, and even wise beyond her years. She is able to go into a pawn shop and use math to do quick calculations in her head to figure out what an item is really worth based on what the pawn shop owner offers to pay her for it. When another runaway girl asks her where she learned this stuff, Dior says “My dad.”
Dior keeps up with her studies while hiding in a storage shed, because she understands the value of a good education. When Dior offers to let another homeless girl named Emma stay with her, she has one rule – Emma has to spend a couple hours every day doing schoolwork. Here’s a scene where Dior is quizzing Emma from her biology text:
Dior: “Okay, so after the cells divide, what’s that phase called?”
Emma: “I really don’t want to do this anymore.”
Dior: “You think that just because you ran away, you can’t think about your future?”
Emma: “You’re starting to sound like my mom.”
Dior: “Well, this isn’t it for me. I’m going to make something of myself.”
Emma: “I’d rather live under the bridge than put up with all these rules.”
Dior: “Then go.”
The contrast of the two teenage runaways does a great job of showing the difference in their choices. One out of necessity, and the other out of rebellion against parental authority. One of them with a long term goal in mind, and the other simply living from day to day. One has faith that God will provide, and the other takes what she can get.
A Box of Faith is a movie about tough circumstances and making the best of a bad situation. It’s a study in character that can lead to a family discussion about decision-making and determination. It prompts viewers to see their own lives from a different perspective, to be thankful for little things, and to make each moment a treasure.
A Box of Faith is no blockbuster by any means, but this low-budget film by a small indie production company out of Scottsdale, Arizona, is a delight to watch. The movie has a refreshing spiritual theme related to Dior’s mystical connection with God. There are a few parts of the movie that seem pretty unbelievable and contrived, but they can be overlooked since it’s such a wonderful story overall. Just think of A Box of Faith as if it’s meant to be more like a parable than a realistic account, and you will enjoy it.
As a side note, I was amazed at how much the main character looks, talks, and acts like a homeschooler I know in real life – who is also quite intelligent and independent, and I bet she would fend for herself in the same way – so the basic plot did not seem too far-fetched to me, LOL!
Savanah McMahon, the actress, is an accomplished student in her own right. She graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Biochemistry and a minor in vocal performance. She’s currently enrolled in the Master of Public Health program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. I guess acting is just something she does on the side, but she definitely has a talent for it.
The film is not rated, but there is no inappropriate language or embarrassing scenes, just a nice clean inspirational story with a creative message of faith. It’s not preachy or corny, either, but very real and sweet.
If you like contemporary Christian films along the lines of War Room and God’s Not Dead, you will certainly appreciate this one with its simple, heartwarming storyline. I did not expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did! A Box of Faith is a charming, uplifting movie for all ages!