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The Independent Critic

Granger Smith, Sonya Balmores, Piper Clurman, Houston Rhines, Paige Herschell
Vickie Bronaugh
Vickie Bronaugh, Mark Cramer

 "Moonrise" Arrives on Pure Flix 
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The Christmas season continues at Pure Flix with the December 15th arrival of country singer Granger Smith's cinematic debut Moonrise. In the film, Smith plays, you guessed it, a country singer named Will Brown who has pushed away his fame, his family, and even his faith following the death of his wife. It's his daughter, Ellie (Piper Clurman), and a talented horse trainer (Sonya Balmores, Soul Surfer) who buckle down to show him strength, forgiveness, and the grace to live life again. 

The story behind Moonrise is inspired by a real-life happening in the life of writer/director Vickie Bronaugh following the death of her own mother and her own father's difficulty in grieving the loss. It's this rich authenticity that helps bring Moonrise to life along with the film's terrific ensemble cast. 

Moonrise is the latest Affirm Original film and the latest original film to arrive on Pure Flix, the ever growing home for faith and family entertainment. Both Smith and Clurman are making their movie debuts here and their natural chemistry is key to the film's down-to-earth and heartfelt success.

Moonrise is a refreshingly relational film, a bit of a reprieve from the usual hustle and bustle holiday entertainment in favor of a story with a deeper heart and soul. Smith's Will is a man caught deeply within his well-earned grief. While the grief is honest, it's becoming all consuming and negatively impacting nearly every area of Will's life. Smith honestly captures this grief but also his transformation over the course of the film. Moonrise is rich with messages about family, faith, healing, redemption, and forgiveness as Will's grief is complicated by mistakes from his past for which he now struggles to forgive himself and move on. 

Piper Clurman makes a terrific cinematic debut as Ellie, a steady presence but not an uncomplicated one. There's no doubt we'll be hearing more from Clurman in the future. Balmores, as the talented horse trainer named Sam, is one of the film's few cinematic vets and her transcendent presence elevates the film in every scene she's in. 

Lensing by Lance Catania is strong throughout Moonrise and Jack Ryan's production design helps give the film a look that balances the story's intimacy, its seasonal timeline, and its inherent hopefulness. 

Moonrise arrives on Pure Flix on December 15th. Pure Flix is your home for faith and family-friendly movies and shows where you can confidently stream with the entire family. If you're not yet a member, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial and be sure to watch Moonrise.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic