If You’re Gone is the third film from Christian production company Every New Day Pictures. Writer/director Brittany Goodwin adapted the script from her own novel, which tells the story of teen student Lillian, whose life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Brad goes missing. Lillian’s faith is rocked as she tries to find him, and learns difficult secrets from his past.
Masey McLain is excellent as Lillian, a complicated role that requires her to carry the whole film – there’s barely a scene she’s not in. Without her strong performance anchoring the almost 2 hour runtime, the slow-burn mystery could be patience-testing.
If You’re Gone is a breath of fresh air for the market it aims at. Teen romances are too often thinly veiled sex-comedies with simplistic morals tagged on. Goodwin’s film is pure without being prudish, making it accessible and honouring to an age demographic that, perhaps more than any other, needs entertainment that helps them stay pure, not causes them to fall.
The quality is sometimes inconsistent, but to focus on that would be cynical. This is a young production company, with a rising generation of filmmakers improving with each project. The story subtly shows that romantic relationships are not the most important thing in life, and that God knows the beginning from the end. If You’re Gone is a film that should give discerning young people pause for thought.
★★★☆☆ An earnest tale with a strong central performance – Every New Day Pictures are brimming with potential.