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-A Letter To Dad

by Dr. D ~

image*Now on DVD: From Skipstone Pictures, Nov. 4  2008, Produced and Directed by Johnny Remo, Editor/Co-Producer-Lance Bachelder, Score/Composer-Matt Gates, Writers: Johnny Remo & Dan A. Donavan, Runtime: 86 min., MPAA Rating: Unrated. 

Cast: John Ashton – Mike (Dad), Thom Mathews – Dan, Corin Nemec – Dan (teen years), Paul Gleason – Tony, Janice Lynde – Erika (Mom), Mario Van Peebles – Norman, Megan Gallivan – Sue, Dana Barron – Kathy.


The story of Dan Donahue (Thom Matthews) who has met the girl of his dreams, Sue (Megan Gallivan). He plans on proposing after a dinner with her parents but in the midst of it he wonders if he can really commit to a wife and family.

Seeing her family, he begins to question whether he is really ready and able to love like that. He still has deep-seeded hurt and anger that needs to be overcome–anger and feelings of abandonment caused by his father leaving him when he was just a young boy. Then there’s the fear that maybe he’ll be just like his old man.

Dan calls it quits with Sue instead, then spends some time alone trying to make sense of it all. In the midst of his introspection he cries out to God: “What do I gotta do to be free to Love?” In the moment of inspiration that follows, Dan decides to write a letter to his father, directly confronting him with the feelings of bitterness, disappointment, and disengagement that he experienced over the years.

(View the trailerA Letter to Dad)

While Dan is writing his letter, we see his life unfold before us. First, the loving father and son relationship that quickly changes when his father (John Ashton – Mike) leaves and divorces his mother (Janice Lynde – Erika). As his father takes off for the first time, Dan cries out to God: “Why are you doing this to me?”

It doesn’t help that his mother remarries and he has to live with a jerk of a step-dad (Paul Gleason- Tony). Then, the unsatisfying time that he has every other weekend with his Dad who seems more intent on blaming everyone else and drowning his troubles in boos than on loving and spending time with his son.

Then comes the rebellion and challenges that he faces as a troubled teen–looking for love and affirmation in all the wrong places. The shock of a friends suicide brings Dan to the place where he decides to make something of his life–“to be somebody“.

He turns to God in the process and there is one scene where he goes to church with his mother and the pastor tells him that God is always there and unconditionally loves him.

As a young man, he begins to make a success of his life. Years later we see him meet the love of his life, Sue, followed by vignettes of loving courtship.

The film has a powerful ending and a message that is sure to encourage and inspire–“a touching story of how faith and love can overcome a lifetime of pain and anger.”

The sound track and music for this film is really awesome–featuring inspirational songs by a number of Christian artists including Jeremy and Adie Camp, Decyfer Down, and others.           

*Note: A Letter to Dad received the highest possible award– 5 Doves– by The Dove Foundation

**For more info. and to purchase the DVD: http://www.alettertodad.com/


***Possible Uses of A Letter to Dad as a Ministry Tool:

Pastors and Church leaders: This would be an excellent film to use as a resource in ministry. The message is particularly appropriate for use by Men’s groups, Youth Groups, Parent or Single Parent groups.

The Movie could be shown to a specific group, followed by a guided question and answer session exploring relational issues.

For example: How experiences or lack of love or support from our parents, particularly our fathers, growing up can affect our lives and how we relate to others. Why it is important for both parents, especially fathers, to reach out to their children in love.

Also, how God, as our heavenly Father, is always there for us regardless–making up for what we didn’t get from our parents (or in cases of abuse, what we did get)–reaching out to offer us unconditional love and help to overcome all of the challenges before us.         *Top

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10 Responses to -A Letter To Dad

  1. ANSWERS For The Faith » Blog Archive » -Movie Review: "A Letter To Dad"

    […]  *Now on DVD: Available from Skipstone Pictures, A Letter to Dad received the highest possible award– 5 Doves– by The Dove Foundation. The film has a powerful message with a great soundtrack.<<Read my review of the film>> […]

  2. Movie Review: "A Letter To Dad" | CHARISMATICA

    […]  *Now on DVD: Available from Skipstone Pictures, A Letter to Dad received the highest possible award– 5 Doves– by The Dove Foundation. The film has a powerful message with a great soundtrack.<<Read my review of the film>> […]



  4. Reel Ministries

    Does anyone know who I can contact at the A Letter to Dad for a Public Showing License? I would like to purchase a movie lisiense for an outdoor outreach.




  5. Dr. D

    Try info@alettertodad.com

  6. Kurt

    I think this was a very sad movie, but not for the reasons you may think.

    This, I feel, was a very unchristian, (though very emotional) movie that was more religious in tone than Christian. Pagan women and weak worldly men will love this movie, though.

    EVERY father was portrayed as evil or bad. Abusive to children to the point that they were either beaten by their fathers, left by their fathers, raised by drunkard fathers, or such bad fathers that children were driven to suicide.

    The mother was portrayed as a saint-like even though she divorced two men, neither divorce being biblical. The only two reasons Christ gives to leave a partner that you’re CLEAVED unto is for infidelity (Matt. 5:32), or abandonment of an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor. 7:15). Neither was the case with this mother. She thrust both men away.

    I don’t ever recall Christ or his Gospel proclaimed in the film, though the mother that committed infidelity twice was mentioned as taking the boy to Sunday school.

    The son recalled Proverbs 22:6 about training a child up in the way he should go… etc… and attributed this to his mother. Yet other than trundling him off to Sunday school nowhere was it stressed how the mother trained him up in the way he should go, which is in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord and His Word.

    She trained her son in the worldly message that all men are bad. Can you show me an example of one single Godly man in the film, other than the pastor that wasn’t even given allowed a speaking line?

    If the goal of this film was to debase and emasculate men while lifting up women and children, you hit a home run.

    But except for the occasional picture of a cross on a church and a soundless pastor, this could hardly be called a religious movie and it certainly was not a Christian move.

  7. Dr. D

    You are way too hard on the story. I get it -you did not like the movie.

    It is a story that many have lived and been affected negatively by all of their lives. The lack of a good positive ‘father’ figure and influence in ones life does affect the way folks respond to others and are able to have satisfactory relationships with others. That is a fact. Add alcohol to the situation like in this story and it is even worse.

    The movie demonstrates the possibility of redemption and change with Gods help in the process. There is nothing more ‘Christian’ than that.

  8. Susan

    I agree with Dr. D. There are so many men that have been abandoned either emotionally or physically from thier fathers, to then be unable to love a women or their families fully. I am currently attempting to save a marriage and help my husband deal with the anger, hurt and abandonment felt by his father’s continued betrayal.
    He watched and for the second time in 25 years he cried because the movie awoke a feeling in him!
    He saw a redemption in the end of the story.

  9. Dr. D

    Thanks Susan,
    That is the very reason I reviewed and promoted this film in the first place. I believe that the film can be helpful to some in bringing out issues that many try to ignore and seek God’s help in making life and relationships better.

  10. Sheri

    Could you tell me who the REAL Dan Donahue was and why his story was portrayed in a movie? It’s not often a person’s life is put to film, so this person must be of some importance, other than to God and inspiring others. Does Dan Donahue have a website anything of the sort? Thank you – great movie!!! 5 STARS for sure!

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