In the skating world a Hardflip is a skateboard trick that combines a frontside pop shuvit with a kickflip. If you know what that is, or even if you don’t, you’re probably going to love this movie.
Talented teen skateboarder Caleb (Randy Wayne – The Dukes of Hazzard) finds the skatepark a place of escape. His skills on the skateboard are being noticed, and Caleb is on his way to attaining sponsorship. But Caleb’s homelife is not so rosy and he struggles with anger and bitterness at growing up without knowing his father while he watches his ill mother struggle with alcoholism.
Rebellious and troubled, Caleb is angry with his mum, Beth (Rosanna Arquette – Pulp Fiction), and finds himself mixing with the wrong crowd. After an angry outburst between the two, an unexpected health problem throws Beth into a coma and Caleb is left with feelings of guilt and remorse. In his search to find answers, Caleb stumbles across a pile of letters which lead him on a path to finding his father.
Jack (John Schneider – October Baby), a successful businessman, is consumed with work and financial gain. He left his family behind years ago to establish himself in the corporate world. Flying in and out for meetings and living the high life, Jack thought he had well moved on, until one day Caleb knocks on his office door. Dredging up old memories, Jack tries to push the feelings away but is gradually pulled back into the lives of his son whom he has never known, and Caleb’s mother, Beth.
As Caleb discovers and gets to know his father, his anger grows. He finds himself in trouble with the law and struggles to reconcile the events in his life. With his life in a mess, rejecting God and crying out for answers, things become very dire for this troubled teen.
Prompted by messages along the way through the faith of his mother, the redemption story of a local homeless man and the appearance of a mysterious skater who turns up just at the right times, Caleb begins to find truth amidst the darkness.
Jack discovers through the influence of an employee, that life is more than work, and that family is not disposable. Realising he had never stopped loving Beth, it may be now too late to make amends with her, but can he rebuild some sort of relationship with his son?
Just like a skating flip trick, we begin to see hearts soften and lives transform.
With themes of forgiveness, redemption and transformation, this confronting film tackles some of the darker sides of life while providing a window of hope and reconciliation. It shows that no matter how far away from God we may be, he still pursues us and there is always a way back from pain to the freedom forgiveness brings.
For the skateboard loving teen or adult in your house, the final scenes of skating footage are especially impressive even to a non-skater like myself. Suitable for an older teen/youth audience, Hardflip may just be the skating movie with a meaning you’ve been waiting for.