Faith-based movies instill warm fuzzy feelings in viewers either with realistic family-friendly tales of one’s reprisal or with entertaining fantastical chronicles that serve more as allegories to real life. ‘Hope Ranch‘ is more inclined to the former category and is pretty formulaic with its approach. Even so, with its themes surrounding grief, love, and of course, hope, it truly inspires you to never give up. If you’ve already watched the film and you’re looking for a summary/explainer of its simplistic storyline, read on further.
Grace, her mother Rebecca, and her father Mike own a beautiful ranch where they raise a white horse named Faith. Over the years, Grace not only develops a strong bond with the horse but also associates many pleasant memories of her father with the horse. Everything in their life seems to be perfect until Mike dies while fighting for his country. The consequences of this ripple down on Rebecca and Grace’s life and an impending mortgage threatens their hold on the family ranch that they hold so close to their hearts. Rebecca, being the adult that she is, avoids being driven by her emotions and tries to save their ranch from its imminent foreclose. In the meantime, Grace stubbornly tries to hold onto everything that once belonged to her father.
There’s a scene where Rebecca clears out all of Mike’s belonging from the home and tries to sell them just to be able to keep their head above water. However, Grace, who still grieves her father’s death, protests against this. This is when Rebecca tries to explain to her that she should only be holding onto the memories of her father and not his belongings. For a while, Grace understands what her mother is trying to tell her. But when it comes down to selling her horse to save their ranch from foreclosure, Grace starts rebelling again and refuses to give up on her only friend. In all of her pain, a ray of hope eventually shines on her and her mother, and a series of miracles give them the strength to keep going even during these dark times.
Grace’s Dwindling Hope
Tough times call for tough decisions and as much as Rebecca hates being a bad mother, she is forced to sell Grace’s horse to be able to save their ranch. One night, when a cowboy from nearby ranch shows up to buy their horse, Rebecca reluctantly decides to give her away. For obvious reasons, Grace does not digest this too well. However, on the bright side, this incident forces her to start believing in god again. Throughout the movie’s runtime, after her father passes away, Grace constantly questions her faith in God and even refuses to visit the church. After her father’s death, her last fragments of hope rested on her horse. But when that, too, is taken away from her, she decides to rest her faith in God and wholeheartedly prays for things to get better.
The Ending: The Three Virtues
Just when Grace and her mother reach rock-bottom, Mike’s good friend, who is also a priest at a local church, reaches out to the community to help them. When he surprises them with all the money that he could gather from the community, he recalls the three virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Among these, he claims that charity—although often forgotten—is the most important. And it’s this charity that eventually shows Grace and her mother the light at the end of the tunnel. But this isn’t where it ends.
The next day itself, the man who had previously taken away Grace’s horse, returns and tells them that their horse was feeling homesick to an extent where he couldn’t keep it. He returns what he believes rightfully belongs to them, and after realizing how badly they need money to stay afloat, he does not even ask for a return of the payment he made for the horse. In the closing scene of the movie, Grace and Rebecca still struggle to make ends meet but they realize the true power of hope. And with this, instead of simply giving up, they start their own local horse riding business at their ranch and try to make the best of what they have.
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