Summer Film Recap: Laci Strouse’s summer of inspiring, uplifting and encouraging entertainment

By Laci Strouse

This summer I spent a lot of my time watching movies and TV shows. After everything I saw, “The Little Mermaid,” “Sound of Freedom,” “The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2” and “Sun Moon” remain my favorites. These movies and series are all special in their own way and made my summer a little brighter.

“The Little Mermaid” was a great family film.

Summer break began with the release of the live-action Little Mermaid in theaters. It did not disappoint and was filled with whimsical songs, comedy and romance. Halle Bailey took the screen as Ariel and journeyed on a road of self-discovery. Her voice was beautiful although she did over-emphasize a bit when she sang. 

The songs, composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, in general were also well done. Jonah Hauer-King had a moment in the spotlight with his song “Wild Uncharted Waters.” His chemistry with Bailey was also noteworthy as he was able to clearly portray emotions through body language. 

On the contrary, the animations in the film could have been done a lot better. Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle made for an interesting sight due to the realism in their design. This aspect took away from the magic of the original Little Mermaid and was disappointing. To make up for the animations, the actors brought the film to life. Melissa McCarthy (Ursula), Daveed Diggs (Sebastian) and Awkwafina (Scuttle) did a wonderful job of adding comedy and life to the film. Overall, the film was light-hearted and a great watch for families. 

“Sound of Freedom” tackles difficult issues

“Sound of Freedom” was an eye-opening, underrated film. It followed a Department of Homeland Security Special Agent as he searched to find two missing children. While on this quest, he undercovers a much bigger issue at hand- the child trafficking industry. 

The film was engaging and the plot was fast-paced. Once you think you reached the resolution, it’s actually the middle of the film and the beginning of the huge issue at hand. It was a hard subject to take in and left me pondering what I saw. This film changed my perspective on the world and outlook on life. It left me interested to learn more about the subject of human trafficking and what can be done to stop it. I left the theatre with a yearning to know more about the trafficking industry and what can be done to prevent it. 

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” was a fun summer rom-com

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” season two directly followed the second book in the “Summer I Turned Pretty” series by Jenny Han. There were a few minor differences, but overall the plot was the same. 

Once more, Belly finds herself stuck between two brothers while she navigates through Susannah’s death. This led to a big character shift in Belly as she searched to find herself again and who she wanted to become. Her search was represented through the maturity in her wardrobe and her decision to pursue being on the volleyball team. 

We also see some character development in Jeremiah as he is more expressive and involved in Belly’s life than in season one. On the other hand, Conrad closed himself off from pursuing a relationship with Belly. Despite the chaos of the love triangle, this season was still enjoyable and filled with surprises. 

I enjoyed the show because it was a comfort rom-com that really puts you into the summer mood. The beautiful friendship between Taylor and Belly along with Belly’s love triangle also stole my heart. The yearning to figure out which guy she ends up with was a fun way to spend each Friday night during the summer.

“Sun Moon” is an inspiring watch for Christian students

“Sun Moon” follows a young woman who was left at the altar and decides to take a job in Taiwan to find herself again. This movie had a heavy emphasis on missions and allowing God to lead your path. All of the actors did a wonderful job at portraying their characters and the plot flowed pretty well. Kelsey (Mackenzie Mauzy) finds herself pushed to face new challenges and grow as a person.  The Taiwanese students expressed modern culture through their speech usage and dance. 

I found myself engaged throughout the film and eager to find out how it ended. I would recommend watching this film to anyone, especially for Cedarville students. The drive to mission throughout the film shows a similar focus to the drive to mission at Cedarville University’s campus. 

“The Little Mermaid” is available on Disney+.  “Sound of Freedom” is playing in theatres.  “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is streaming on Amazon Prime.  “Sun Moon” is available on Pureflix.

 Laci Strouse is a sophomore Professional Writing and Information Design major as well as a reporter for the Cedars. She enjoys reading Christian Fiction, running and golfing with her brothers.

Images courtesy of Walt Disney Studios, Angel Studios, Amazon Studios and Pureflix.

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