Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Main Performers: Sarah Lancaster, Michael Cassidy, Connor Corum
Director: Mitch Davis
Studio: Keb Entertainment
Run Time: 92 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
A young family is falling apart because the father is never home due to the pressures of his job. The dad suggests getting a dog, but his wife concedes only if a stray magically shows up on their doorstep. Soon after, a stray does show up! The dog protects the kids, gives the family lots of love, and becomes a member of the family. When the family moves to Colorado, the young father takes his nine-year-old son, the family dog, and two of his son's friends backpacking in the mountains. However, the group is literally struck by lightning. The dad is directly hit and nearly dies. He recovers, but the dog does not. The four hike out of the wilderness, carrying the dead dog. This is a true story based on an actual event that happened to the director, Mitch Davis.
The Stray is an outstanding movie that both recognizes the struggles families go through and the changes they can experience together. The tension between the dad and the son is realistic, as is the mother's desire to help her family. Despite its incredible and perhaps unlikely series of events, the movie is very believable. For example, after the lightening strikes, the campers are lying in the tent when a bear comes by. It turns out that a bear really did come after Mitch Davis had been hit by the lightening. Great acting, moving music, and a positive message that family is what matters most will move audiences throughout the entire film. There's also the message that people can change and make an effort to be different, and that their efforts will pay off.