Apple of My Eye review – A family movie that lacks the heart to go deeper

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Tackling a challenging topic about a person losing their eyesight in a way that remains emotionally light enough to be uplifting to kids is no easy feat. So what better way to do it than gloss over the dilemma completely? At least, this is how I felt when watching the extremely light-hearted Apple of My Eye, about a girl, Bailey (Avery Arendes), who following a horse riding accident, begins to lose her eyesight and finds hope and redemption in a guide-horse named Apple. A mini-horse with a big heart that has been trained up by Charlie (Burt Reynolds) as a guide specifically for her.

Apple of My Eye contains all of the cute animal scenes that are likely to keep the kids occupied for a grand total of like 40 minutes, but as for the rest of the movie, it’s just going through the motions. There are so many elements of this story that are glossed over that you almost stop caring about the film and the outcome of its characters long before the final credits arrive. Considering that the film is only around 80 minutes, that is saying something.

Ultimately, the direction which writer/director Castille Landon (who also acts in the movie) has chosen to take in telling this true story is the biggest issue at stake. By trying to make the film a feel-good family movie, they’ve robbed the story of everything that could be decent about it. Scenes like the horse accident are not only completely glossed over, but not shown in the film where the camera pans away instead of focusing on this life changing event. Similarly, the shock of Bailey slowly losing her eyesight is not felt and where you expect someone to be breaking down or overwhelmed by the experience, it’s again practically skipped over so that the film can get us to see cute guide-dogs and horses instead.

The film does have some nice touches, in particular, Bailey’s interaction with her parents (Liam McIntyre and Amy Smart) which highlights some real frustrations that are likely to occur with the family. Again though, much of the emotion in these scenes has been robbed by focusing on a positive feel-good vibe rather than what must surely be a difficult and harrowing experience for them

This would be passable if even these scenes were then handled with some sense of maturity, but again, these scenes serve little than offer up opportunities to gawk over the animals and listen to some stiff dialogue as Bailey interacts with fellow blind people who have had to overcome their own challenges. There is some light-hearted dialogue through most of these sections though and it appears the film is looking to educate its audience on the challenges blind people can face in mixing with society, rather than how this impacts them emotionally.

These narrative stumbles are disappointing, considering how much more they could’ve done with the story if they weren’t trying to make it come across as so sugary sweet. It’s hard to fault the acting of this, which is far from being decent, but given the emotional depth, they are expected to cater for, its hard to actually see it as anything more. The production values are decent enough for a low budget film and that too you can’t really fault.

I say all this though realising I am probably not the target market for this film. It is clearly aimed at being a light hearted family affair and not supposed to dig deeper into what the story has to offer. In that regards, it certainly pulls off its story amiably, though the kids will likely end up being bored long before the movie plays out to its conclusion. It’s the kind of movie that will have them begging you to watch because of the cute horse, but then have you still need to entertain them when they lose interest in the general plot.

Apple of My Eye is a film that plays it safe all the way through and ends up boring you in the process. The only thing that will keep you thinking about this movie after you watch it is how on earth Burt Reynolds landed up starring in it. Outside of that, avoid at all possible and rather get the kids to take out another movie instead.

Last Updated: July 21, 2017

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I’d rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

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