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William Ainscough and Donald Sutherland in Milton’s Secret. (eOne)
William Ainscough and Donald Sutherland in Milton’s Secret. (eOne)

REVIEW

Milton’s Secret may be overearnest, but it has a powerful message Add to ...

  • Directed by Barnet Bain
  • Written by Barnet Bain, Sara B. Cooper, Donald Martin
  • Starring Donald Sutherland, William Ainscough, Mia Kirshner
  • Classification PG
  • Genre drama
  • Year 2016
  • Country Canada
  • Language English

Workaholic parents have little attention for family, smartphones are omnipresent, economic times are tough. Life, man – it’s stressful.

For Milton Adams (William Ainscough), on the cusp of 12, there are the added pressures of a bully next door, the possibility of his parents divorcing and a looming public-speaking assignment. Then, his grandfather (Donald Sutherland, who is terrific) comes to town, wearing a loud shirt but exuding calm.

A hippie who has fought his own demons with a conscious and spiritual approach to life, Grandpa teaches Milton to deal with anxiety and get off Planet Fear. There’s a lesson there for Milton’s parents (Mia Kirshner and David Sutcliffe), too. Milton’s teacher (Michelle Rodriguez) is another caring figure.

Based on the picture book co-authored by Power of Now superstar Eckhart Tolle, Milton’s Secret carries a powerful and important message, but the film feels ham-fisted, clichéd and overearnest at times, especially for adult viewers. It is a worthy outing (or VOD rental) for any family, though – if you can find the time.

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