A number of recent films have been based on the age-old truism "you can't go home again." This one tackles the issue from the other end -- you can't really leave home, especially if you are leaving with the hope that all your old problems will magically disappear if you simply change locations. The story presents us with a tight-knit family showing genuine chemistry and caring. The father (Milo Gibson, son of Mel) seems to feel that his money problems (not much left) and his wife's medical problems (bi-polar, prone to sudden violent outbursts) will all disappear if he grabs his two young girls and moves the family off grid. Only to find there really is no off-grid in our modern world, you will only end up in someone else's backyard, with lots of folks who will pop up to make darn sure you are following their rules, not yours. A slow burn yarn with a single point to make, but it is very competent, well acted, and it holds interest. ((Designated "IMDb Top Reviewer." Please check out my list "167+ Nearly-Perfect Movies (with the occasional Anime or TV miniseries) you can/should see again and again (1932 to the present))
I gave the movie "Manifest West" five stars as to me it was an average movie. It was about a family that moves from the city to the country and shows how the have to adapt to the changes between the country and the city life and how they have to learn to interact with the other families that live in the same area around where they have moved. . It mostly centers around the main family and how they raise their children and the legal political issues that they have to deal with. The movie reminded me of the Randy Weaver incident that happened at Ruby Ridge which involved several of the government FBI agents. I would recommend this movie as a watch.
In an age of diminishing trust of institutions, this film is surprisingly topical, capturing the doubts and instability of attempting a life "off the grid". Powerful performances throughout. Milo Gibson has his father's emotional intensity, and the powder keg is lit when a government social worker starts asking questions. Annet Mahendru gives a layered performance as a loving mother struggling to hold on to sanity. Both daughters were excellent, making the best of an uncertain future. The cinematography beautifully captures the rural mountain backdrop, while also revealing the many avenues for dysfunction and danger that linger there. A nuanced and unexpected gem.
Novice filmmaker duo, co-writers and co-directors Joe Dietsch and Louie Gibson were excellent in directing their cast, gave us beautifully shot scenes and cinematography, but had the writing been much tighter, this film could've been outstanding. For starters, all casting and performances were exceptional - they felt very convincing and real, even the little girls. The score was excellent and complimented the scenes perfectly. Going into this, the promotional description for this film was "a coming of age" story, which it was, but it was also a lot more that was too subtle to make this film great. The narrative was too uneven and incohesive with its subplots, which left many plot holes. It tried biting off more than it chewed in its 91 min runtime. Had the pacing been better, and some irrelevant scenes omitted and others expanded with more depth - even if an extra 15-20 mins were added, it would've made a huge difference. Nevertheless, a great one-time watch that will provoke many thoughts long after the film is over. It's a 7.5 rounded up to an 8/10, specifically for the exceptional performances and rookie mistakes forgiven to the novice filmmaker duo.