I’ll be honest: faith-based movies usually fall at the bottom of the totem pole or desire for me to watch. It’s only because these faith-based movies are typically low on production values coupled with very, very bad acting. And I get it: most faith-based movies rely on low budgets to be successful (like most horror movies) these days. But they’re never my cup of tea. However, Netflix has invested seemingly more money in A Week Away than any faith-based movie I can recall in some time. The results? Well, story-wise, it’s predictable with a High School Musical spinoff vibe where religion plays a role. However, some of the musical numbers shown are entertaining and show how talented some of the young cast members are, which bodes well for their futures.
A Week Away finds a young guy named Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn) in trouble with the law. To avoid going to juvenile school, he agrees to be taken in by a foster family that is attending a Christian summer camp. When he arrives at the summer camp with his foster brother, he’s immediately drawn to one of the campers, Avery (Bailee Madison). From here, I’m sure you can imagine what happens throughout the remainder of this Roman White-directed film. Will is drawn in, he meets new people, he has his highs and lows through the week-long camp session, and the girl is there for obvious reasons. So, yes, you can see everything coming from a mile away because we’ve seen this story before, centered around religion or not. But when the music isn’t on cue, A Week Away can feel flat. At times, I had to look at my watch and wonder when this was going to end despite the movie only being 97 minutes long. However, when musical numbers hit (all reimagined from songs by Amy Grant, For King & Country and Michael W. Smith), it features well-choreographed dancing and some good (!) music from some young, talented actors. To say I wasn’t impressed is an understatement.
Cast-wise, it’s led by Kevin Quinn as Will Hawkins and if you need any proof that A Week Away gives you a High School Musical vibe, then look no further. He looks very similar to Zac Efron’s Troy Bolton from the High School Musical series. At first glance during a song within minutes of A Week Away having started, I had to do a double take. However, this is not a knock on Kevin Quinn the actor, who actually does the best job performing during the musical beats of this movie. His other co-star, Bailee Madison is also good during musical bits, but also helps keep scenes that aren’t music-related from being dragged down entirely. These two actors, among their other cast members, have bright futures ahead of them and keep this faith-based movie from being a complete wash.
Again, I’ll admit for readers of this review: I’m not big into faith-based movies. But A Week Away certainly has an audience it’s aiming for and I’m certain most of them will eat this up (and rightfully so). I certainly know families that will enjoy this, and I applaud Netflix for jumping into the faith-based genre and putting some money into the production too to make for a movie that doesn’t feel cheap. And hey, they even got David Korchner (Anchorman) to star in this too! A Week Away’s only strengths might be some of its musical numbers and two leading cast members. However, I do think Netflix will look at A Week Away and make more movies like this. And for the world’s biggest streamer, that can only be another plus for them and for families. Will they be better than this? I hope so. And maybe they’ll film them in Nashville like they did with this feature (me and two other staff members from this site currently live in Nashville).