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  • Writer's pictureFr. Vili Lehtoranta

Family Movies Part 1 - Not Broken

“Not Broken” is a 2022 movie made by a 17-year-old Christian movie director, Lauren Havel. When she was 14 years old, she made an anti-bullying film titled “I Hate Kate,” which she showed at her church, and which she uploaded on her new YouTube channel.

The views came in only slowly, but she was already well on her way to creating her first feature film, trusting in God instead of people who told her making a movie was impossible for a girl of her age. “Screened In” was released on Vimeo in August 2020, and meanwhile “I Hate Kate” went viral and gave lots of comfort to thousands of children who had been bullied.

“Not Broken” is Havel’s second feature film, and its subject matter is the learning disorder called dyslexia. Dyslexia was formerly called “word blindness” and means that a person has problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. The movie tells the story of a girl named Winter Knight (played by Rosaia Wilson, Kyra Wilson, and Anne Marie Ryan). Her father (Ian Boyden) is mostly away for work, and her mother Olivia (Natalie King) has to face the troubles and sorrows of Winter’s struggles with learning. Because of her dyslexia, Winter does poorly in school, and later on cannot keep a job. Fortunately she has a good friend Sage (Kaylee Staudt and director Lauren Havel), who supports her in her difficulties and loneliness. Winter also meets an elderly woman Margaret (Kitty Sorgen), who needs her attention and care, and so Winter can finally offer help for someone instead of being helped. And eventually Margaret’s estranged daughter Emily (Jennifer Boyden) ends up helping Winter in a surprising manner.

The movie is part of the new era of film-making in the history of cinema. Previously, it would truly have been an impossible dream for a 14-year-old to start making movies. But now, since the technology which people use every day is so advanced, anyone with a know-how of cameras is able to create his own work of art. (And though it is sometimes hard to believe, cinema can be art.) And thanks to the Internet, film-makers are not dependent on movie theaters and TV for the promotion of their work.

The movie is definitely an independent production, and it’s noticeable, especially in some areas of sound quality. But the director and the actors truly know how to tell an emotional and encouraging story, and the result is very sweet. And Miss Havel has also the rare skill of telling her story in a concise manner, the length of the movie being only 70 minutes against the current trend of 3-hour spectacles. Though “Not Broken” is not a Christian movie in itself, it does contain elements of faith, emphasizing charity, kindness, and family, making Miss Havel another rare exemption in the current state of cinema.

“Not Broken” is available free on YouTube and available for purchase or rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Lauren Havel’s Website

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