I’ve had the privilege of promoting faith-based films for the past few years in various capacities. From helping get the word out about Fireproof when I worked for FamilyLife to being on the internal marketing team for movies like Courageous and October Baby and then being asked to host pre-release screenings at theaters around the country, I feel blessed to have had these opportunities.
Tonight, I was just an attendee of a new film coming out on Mother’s Day weekend. Moms’ Night Out was being screened in 5 cities tonight; Montgomery, AL, Boise, Nashville, Tyler, TX and Little Rock, AR. Since most of the time I’m preparing to host the event and cheerlead for the film, I’m not often watching it for enjoyment purposes. So, tonight I was able to enjoy the film with my lovely wife at my side. We assisted a little at the outset (couldn’t help myself) but for the most part it was a “couples’ night out”. Since I haven’t written a blog post yet in 2014 I thought I would make a review of Moms’ Night as my first one of the year.
MOMS’ NIGHT OUT – What is the movie about?
Mom’s Night Out is a funny story about exactly what the title suggests, a moms’ night out. From the website, “All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a paper bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for three hours—what could go wrong? MOMS’ NIGHT OUT is an endearing true-to-life family comedy that celebrates the beautiful mess called parenting.” Of course it’s more than that but at its core, it’s a simple movie with a subtle but powerful message. I’ll let you know what I think that message is later. Patricia Heaton and her real life actor husband, David Hunt were the Executive Producers of the film. Kevin Downes (Courageous) both acted and produced the film while Jon and Andrew Erwin (October Baby) directed the film. The film has its share of known actors. In addition to Patricia Heaton, David Hunt and Kevin Downes, the film also starred Sean Astin (Goonies, Rudy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Sarah Drew, Alex Kendrick, Robert Amaya and other known actors.
The story resonates because every family, every mom can relate to at least one situation depicted in a scene from the film. Though our kids are (almost) 26, 24 and 22 it just doesn’t seem that long ago that my wife was home full time with our children. And though our kids were tame in comparison to the kids in the film I know there were days she felt some of the same things that Allyson (Sarah Drew) expressed as a young mother of 3 children. Patricia Heaton plays the wife of a pastor (Alex Kendrick) and the mother of a PK. Her interactions with a growing teenage daughter certainly could have been discussions we had in our house. Additionally there were aspects of the film that highlighted current cultural issues faced by young families that we may not have faced exactly “back in the day” but they were relevant and relatable.
There were a number of funny scenes and, generally, the film conveyed what Producer Kevin Downes told the audience at the end of the film in Little Rock (where he was there to see the response) that he wanted to achieve and that was a tribute to moms in a more light-hearted manner than movies like Courageous conveyed fatherhood (not that it was bad but just wanting it to be more comedic). And, for the most part, he achieved his goal. It was funny and endearing.
MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW OF MOMS’ NIGHT OUT
In general, the film centers around the motherhood woes of an aspiring mommy blogger, Allyson. She’s married with three young children but struggling with that internal sense that while being a mommy is noble and she loves her role, she feels like something’s missing. I know that many mothers can relate to that feeling. Though the movie goes on to focus on her night out with her lifelong friend and the pastor’s wife, there were a couple of things that struck me amidst the hijinks of a crazy night. I’ll leave the actual events of their “night out” evening for you to experience.
First, there’s a scene where Allyson and her husband are sitting on the floor in their home sharing their childhood dreams. She reveals that her dream was to be a mom and a wife. I thought that was a poignant moment. In a day and age where being a mother is not a noble aspiration, at least culturally, Moms’ Night Out brings it front and center in a subtle way. I loved that. I’m not against women/mothers working outside the home. But there is so much pressure to make women who aspire to that feel like they are aiming low if that’s their dream. I loved that MNO wasn’t bashful to make that statement through their lead character.
Another moving scene in the film is one between a character named Bones (Trace Adkins) and Allyson, in a place that he would likely have been more familiar with than she. Bones shares wisdom beyond the character he plays and helps Allyson comes to grips with why she was struggling emotionally as a mother, despite having achieved her dream. I won’t give away the scene but it revealed to me the overall value of MNO aside from the true-to-life comedic touch. It showed the value of motherhood throughout the film. From a struggling single mother trying to make it all work, to a young mother of three young children to a wife of a prominent man (pastor) raising a teenager, the movie depicts so many aspects of motherhood all in a very real sense, yet in a positive and attractive way. Yes, it’s hard to be a mom. But is it worth it? The movie answers that with a resounding YES. I also like that the film didn’t trash the fathers to do it. Parenting is a two person sport at its best and it is such a powerful influence for good or bad in our society. I thought that message rang loud and clear throughout the film.
Bottom line: Moms Night Out is a great film for the entire family. There are plenty of funny scenes, true-to-life moments and elbow-jabbing content for the whole family. Yet what I truly enjoyed amidst the craziness and comedy was how motherhood was depicted. Too many young women are not permitted to believe that being a mom is worth their dream. If you are a mom, have a mom or have had a mom who’s made a difference in your life, you’ll love this move. And, if you’re a dad you’ll love it because you know how valuable your wife is to your home. It takes a mom and dad committed to each other and to their home to raise a family in the midst of a world that does everything it can to distract us from those things that really matter. Dream away, young women. Being a mother is a noble calling. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Mom’s Night Out shows the frustration, the craziness and the joy of being a mother. I know where I’m taking my kids mother on Mother’s Day Weekend (May 9-11). How about you?
Find out more about Moms’ Night Out at http://www.momsnightoutmovie.com and on