Set in a small-town in Ireland, A Bump Along the Way tells the story of Pamela (Bronagh Gallagher), a 44-year old woman who has her priorities out of order. Despite caring for her teenage daughter Allegra (Lola Petticrew), Pamela spends her nights partying and has difficulty making ends meet. When a one-night-stand results in a pregnancy, Pamela re-examines her life and attempts to make things right. Even so, after years of neglect, her relationship with Allegra has become strained and the two women must decide what it means to build a family moving forward.
Funny and charming, A Bump Along the Way is the perfect film for Mother’s Day weekend. Directed by Shelley Love, Bump pops along with enjoyable dialogue and engaging characters while also celebrating its female characters. In her first feature length film, Love spins an entertaining mother/daughter story that also highlights the importance of the people in our lives.
Though much of the cast does some solid work, its ultimately Gallagher that shines brightest. Taking centre stage as the broken but affable Pamela, veteran actor Gallagher thrives in the spotlight. Even in moments of sadness, there’s a strength and focus that comes through Gallagher that makes her a delight to watch. As Pamela, she has a spark within her performance that makes her relatable and she carries the film as a result.
In a lot of ways, the film is a love letter to those looking to begin again. Struggling to relate to her daughter and filling her nights with partying, Pamela’s life is a train wreck. Having alienated her daughter and struggling to pay the bills, Pamela has lost control of her life in almost every way. However, things change immediately after she becomes pregnant. Though unplanned, this seems to be the wake-up call that she needs and Pamela quickly works towards getting her life together.
In essence, this unexpected bump in her life creates a moment of rebirth for Pamela.
Nevertheless, the damage has already been done in her relationship with Allegra, who struggles to see her mother as anything more than the sum of her past mistakes. For Allegra, Pamela has always been a poor example. Despite the sacrifices that her mother has made, Pamela’s self-destructive tendencies have been an embarrassment to her and an unplanned pregnancy feels like the final straw.
Although Bump never loses sight of the value of its characters and reminds the viewer that they do not deserve to be judged by others. As we delve into Pamela’s backstory, we witness the verbal abuse that she receives from the men in her life. At the same time, Allegra’s journey reveals to her how complicated relationships can be when others only view you for your moments of weakness. As they attempt to navigate their lives, the characters highlight their value of the people, despite their actions. In a culture that’s willing to cut people off, this film reminds us that growing up (regardless of age) is difficult and that people make mistakes.
In Bump, everyone deserves a second chance.
At its heart, there’s a purity that drives A Bump Along the Way. With heart and charm, Love does a good job of helping us care for the broken journeys of its characters. Although they’ve made mistakes, both Pamela and Allegra show that sometimes a little bump is all you need to get things back on track.
A Bump Along the Way is available on demand.