Calvin Campbell (Kristoffer Polaha) is a former baseball player who is searching for a new purpose in life. After his formative career ended, a drinking problem began. This added to his struggles as a single father to his teenage daughter, Katie (McKaley Miller). Katie is dating a boy that Calvin knows is no good, but the more Calvin tries to steer Katie in a different direction, the wider the gap between the two becomes. While the character of Calvin is a bit of a cliche, he provides the foundation for what will be a warming tale of hope.
Everything begins to change for Calvin when he meets a young man whom everyone calls Produce.
Produce is the stock boy at the local grocery store who has Down syndrome. He knows every number on each piece of fruit and vegetable. He rides his bicycle to work each day, with his worn Bible in the basket along with his green, produce apron.
Produce is brought to life by an outstanding performance by David DeSanctis. DeSanctis makes Produce likable from the very beginning. His preformance creates an interest in Produce. We want to be know more about him. More importantly, what DeSanctis brings to this film through Produce is hope, and that is exactly what Calvin needs in his moment of crisis.
Hope is a central element to any faith.
In one of the best scenes in the film, Calvin is disappointed over yet another life moment where he failed. He chooses to drown the sorrow away by drinking along a set of railroad tracks. Produce, worried about him, goes looking for him. Once he finds Calvin, Produce does not leave him until he has Calvin’s keys. The scene is filled with intense yelling and determination from both characters. Neither wants to give up.
Calvin, like the king in 2 Kings, wonders “Why should I hope in the Lord any longer?” (2 Kings 6:33). As Calvin will later learn, Produce’s own life fulfills the words of Paul in the book of Romans:
And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts though the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Through his own life example, Produce shows Calvin that life is not measured by our suffering, but by our hope. Hope, it shows us, can be found in unexpected ways, through unexpected people. This is what Produces teaches, not just Calvin, but all of us.
Thanks to DeSanctis’ Produce, we can overlook the predictability to enjoy a film that advocates for the removal of the “r-word” from the American lexicon. The film shows us the power of family and community, and reminds us that we can be in community and be different. Perhaps the best thing that happened to Calvin is that he met Produce who taught him to be himself and to have hope.