A Bump Along the Way (Shelly Love, 2019): UK

Reviewed by Justin Tuttle at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2020

A Bump Along the Way is an entertaining, albeit predictable movie that is worth watching.  It was the opening night film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and played for a packed audience at the iconic Arlington Theater.  The movie was directed by Shelly Long and co-produced by Louise Gallagher (producer of The Survivalist) and Roma Downey (actor in Touched by an Angel).

Set in a town in Northern Ireland, the movie is about Pamela (Bronagh Gallagher), a single mom in her forties that is struggling to raise her teenage daughter Allegra (Lola Pettigrew).  Pamela is a part-time employee at a bakery.  She barely makes ends meet and fortunately for her, she lives in a home inherited from her mother.  One night she gets drunk and meets a heating and air conditioning technician in his twenties.  They get romantic, consider protection but elect to still have sex figuring she couldn’t get pregnant anyway.

Pamela ends up pregnant and the movie follows the rippling effect this has on her and her daughter Allegra.  Allegra is already struggling with typical teenage angst such as fitting in, making friends and suffering bullying which gets exponentially worse after the pregnancy news hits her school.

The acting was compelling.  I felt that young actress Lola Pettigrew did an especially good job portraying her character through her emotions, mannerisms, inflection, and tone.  Bronagh Gallagher (who I recognized from Pulp Fiction) drew me into her character, enabling me to feel empathy for Pamela yet also displeasure in how her actions hurt and exposed her daughter to pain and ridicule.  It was entertaining given the dynamic of these circumstances between mother and daughter.

I really liked the cinematography.  There were good camera angles of the characters especially in a tight spot like the kitchen scenes.  I thought the costuming was superb.  My favorites were the eclectic articles of clothing Pamela wore, such as cow hoof slippers and her lion print kimona.  There were also beautiful shots of the city including the river that ran through it that seemed natural and not gratuitous.

The movie had a good balance between dramatic intense scenes and comedic release.  It kept my interest and attention from beginning to end.

This movie would appeal to those who enjoy movies depicting real-life scenarios that like some comedy interspersed, yet don’t require fairy tale endings.




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