God Bless The Broken Road (2018)

PG-13 Running Time: 113 mins



  • Faith-based audiences often respond en masse to films targeting that demographic, and God Bless the Broken Road could be poised to have a nice weekend at the box office.

  • Lindsay Pulsipher is a talented actress and makes the most out of an overstuffed script that, may veer off in a lot of different directions, but is a better movie when she is front and center.

  • One reviewer called this “the movie we need for our troubled times.” So, I mean. There you go.


  • You would think this would be a movie that would try and cast a wide net to share its message; however, this film is preaching merely to a choir of devoted followers. That is rather confusing. Wouldn’t you want a film like this to try and appeal to as diverse an audience as possible?

  • The beginning and end of this movie are hyperbolic and hackneyed in its storytelling. Curious moviegoers may feel pushed away immediately. Wait. Is that NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson playing a pastor?!?!?!

  • One reviewer called this “the movie we need for our troubled times.” So, I mean. There you go.


The first of two faith-based movies to be released in subsequent weeks by director Harold Cronk, God Bless the Broken Road takes its name from a chart-topping, Grammy winning country song, popularized by Rascal Flatts in 2004. Reportedly, the lyrics from the song served as the inspiration behind the screenplay, penned by Cronk and Jennifer Dornbush, and very quickly we see the difficulty in taking a four-minute song and stretching it into a 113-minute film.

Their solution appears to be to take a half-dozen subplots, throw them at the wall, mention God constantly, and hope something sticks.

And before we move too much further along, the deficiencies within God Bless the Broken Road have nothing to do with the film being faith-based. Rather, it is how the movie deals with those realities that make the film a bit hard to take seriously.

The film revolves around Amber (Lindsay Pulsipher) and her 8-year-old daughter Bree (Makenzie Moss), living a life in rural Kentucky, while her husband, Darren (Liam Matthews), is fighting in Afghanistan. One afternoon, as Amber is leading the church choir, soldiers arrive with news of Darren’s passing. Two years after his funeral, Amber has lost her connection to church, is estranged from her mother-in-law, and is working more and more shifts at the local diner to try and make ends meet.

Bree, though still active in church, is often dragged along to work with Amber or left at home, because Amber has no other options. Enter in Cody (Andrew W. Walker), looking freshly plucked out of a romantic Lifetime or Hallmark Movie of the Week.

Seeking to restart his life from a troubled past, Cody is sent by Coach Gibbs (a reference repeatedly made about NASCAR owner and former NFL coach Joe Gibbs, though Gibbs is never actually in the film), to, well, a guy named Joe (Gary Grubbs), a mechanic and race car sponsor in his own right.

Cody is roped into being a youth activities coordinator at the local church and he has the boys and girls making go-karts. And he makes googly-eyes at Amber, who tries to fight against her instincts, out of deference to her late husband.

And it just continues. Amber and Cody get to know each other. Financial troubles are afoot. Amber and mother-in-law Patti (Kim Delaney) despise one another for no real discernible reason. A soldier Darren served with (Arthur Cartwright) has shown up in town. And then we also have Amber’s two best friends, Karena and Bridgette, (Robin Givens, Jordin Sparks) popping in and out with faith-based platitudes and scripture, always at the ready.

There is A LOT going on here and had Cronk and Dornbush wrote the song this all somehow emanates from; they would have likely crafted a 20-song concept album working through all this material.

Pulsipher is really solid here and develops a nice chemistry with Moss. There are some wonderful moments shared by Amber and Bree, which instantly makes this a cut above most of the faith-based lectures, masquerading as feature films, we typically get in a given year.

Cronk is the man behind the first two God’s Not Dead films, which are on record at Should I See It, individually, as being among the worst films of their respective years. They are not movies, they are propaganda, and are embarrassingly acted, directed, and cobbled together.

So, in that sense, God Bless the Broken Road is a vast improvement for Cronk as a filmmaker. A solid cast, well-staged scenes, and the willingness to tiptoe around a world outside of a constrained faith-based storytelling space, helps the overall product tremendously.

I suppose the one thing I still do not understand, when it comes to inspirational cinema, music, and art as a whole, is why there has to be such a constant reaffirming of a love of Jesus and of a faith in God. Why do films like this remind us of such things every few minutes? Aren’t faith-based audiences secure enough in their beliefs to not need to have such a concussive message continually beaten into them?

In totality, attempts at humor hit and miss. Walker’s performance as the new potential man in Amber’s life is as wooden as they come, and the two co-stars fail to generate any chemistry whatsoever.

God Bless the Broken Road is a scattershot mess of a movie, but it is endearing and generally means well. Once it works through its bucket list of patriotism, Jesus, NASCAR, the Bible, Christian music, love, loss, and redemption (kind of…), many will stand and applaud. Here’s hoping the next time around, Cronk remembers three very important words when telling his next story.

Less is more.


Starring: Lindsay Pulsipher, Makenzie Moss, Robin Givens, Jordin Sparks, Andrew W. Walker, Gary Grubbs, Kim Delaney, Andrew Cartwright, LaDainian Tomlinson, Liam Matthews.

Director: Harold Cronk
Written by: Harold Cronk, Jennifer Dornbush (screenplay); Andy Fraser, Liam Matthews (story).
Inspired by the song “Bless the Broken Road”, written by Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Freestyle Releasing