We are thrilled to welcome renowned journalist Debra Wallace to Jersey Family Fun as a guest contributor. In her debut article for us, she shares her review and thoughts about The Stray, a new family-friendly movie.
Debra Wallace is an award-winning Philadelphia-based journalist, author, feature writer, and online content provider with more than 25 years of professional experience. Her celebrity profiles, entertainment features, and heart-felt human interest stories have graced the covers and inside pages of Family Circle, Cosmopolitan, British Glamour, WomansDay.Com, Philadelphia Life, South Jersey Magazine, and many other publications and websites.
Debra also writes frequently on autism and special needs parenting, and is involved in spreading acceptance, awareness, and love for all children, regardless of their differences, through the non-profit, Suburban Philadelphia-based, Autism Cares Foundation.
Contact Debra on Facebook at Wallace Media Services.
About the Family-Friendly Movie The Stray
A mysterious mutt follows a young boy home from school and changes the lives of everyone in an over-stressed family. This is the premise of The Stray, an inspirational and memorable family-friendly movie, with a warm heart, and many life lessons, to boot.
Mitch Davis was an overworked father working as a Hollywood studio executive, and despite considerable career success, his marriage and family were splintering apart. His wife, Michelle, was extremely stressed out caring for their three young children, while her husband burned the midnight oil. This father had little time to play catch with his son, so their relationship became extremely strained, and family life seemed much more chaotic than happy.
Although this happened some 30 years ago, it could absolutely happen today. How often do families actually sit down and eat meals together? Parents work such, long hours that often little time remains to forge strong relationships and carve out family time.
All of this and more was occurring in the Davis family…until one day in 1987 a stray dog followed Mitch’s six-year-old son home from school, and bounded into his family’s life at the perfect time. We learn early on from this movie, The Stray, the first of several important life lessons — that help sometimes comes from the most unlikely places.
“The Stray tells the true story of my family when our lives were clearly out of control,” explains Davis. “I was a workaholic studio executive at Disney, and I was rarely home. My wife, Michelle, was trying to keep our family from falling apart. We knew we needed something.” But they didn’t know what that was.
Take a look at The Stray movie trailer
A noteworthy aspect of The Stray is how timing can play an important factor in our lives. The three young Davis children were yearning for a dog. But their mom, Michelle, refused to give in to their pleas.
In fact, this overwhelmed young mother bluntly tells her three young children that she is not adding one more stressor to the family dynamics. But she leaves the door open just a crack by saying: “There is no way I am going to get a dog on purpose, but if a stray shows up, I’ll think about it.”
Then just in the nick of time, Pluto the Wonder Dog became a treasured member of the Davis family. Not only did this dog bond with the young children, especially Davis’ oldest son, Christian, but also played, fetched, restored a marriage, and repaired a broken father-son relationship, while also acting as a guard dog and a guardian angel.
The Stray, (from Pure Flix Entertainment) which opened on Friday, October 6, is the true, heart-felt, emotional story of writer/director Davis, The Other Side of Heaven, that has long been part of the Davis family lore.
“This mystery dog showed up out of nowhere, literally following our oldest son home from school, and never left,” Davis recalls. “We named him Pluto the Wonder Dog, because we never knew where he came from. We saved his life by feeding him, and he saved our lives by showing us how to treat one another better.”
After this mysterious dog helped the family realize their lives were out of control, the Davis family decided to pack up and moved from Hollywood to Colorado, a few years after Pluto came into their lives. “Our decision to live in the country in Colorado was to clear our lives and our lungs. We moved from the crowded suburbs and traffic jams to enjoy the rolling hills, pine trees and scrub oak. This was such a tremendous change, and a leap of faith for all of us in the family.”
My The Stray movie review and The Stray Spoiler Alert
The Stray reminds me of two other memorable films that well portray admirable human qualities: Frank Capra’s 1963 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Rob Reiner’s 1986 rite-of-passage favorite, Stand by Me.
The Stray is charming, relatable and extremely well-written. Although it has a PG rating, I have one concern for younger children. [Spoiler Alert] The pivotal scenes in the film take place during a camping trip in the Colorado Mountains that Davis went on with his son and his two young friends. After they set up their tent for the night and were fast asleep, a bolt of lightning hit their tent and severely injured Mitch Davis, who does fully recover, and Pluto the Wonder Dog, who does not. The death of the beloved family dog, and his subsequent funeral near the family home may be upsetting to young and sensitive children, so parents need to consider this before viewing this film.
Read Debra Wallace’s follow up article about The Stray in this article, The Making of The Stray with Filmmaker Mitch Davis.
For information, show times and tickets please go to: thestray.movie.
Like the movie on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheStrayDogMovie.