CINEQUEST FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! Director Amy Glazer’s 7000 Miles is more Margaritaville than masterpiece. The movie, written by Colette Freedman, exists as an exposition-heavy adventure romp that lacks the gusto necessary for any real payoffs down the line. I couldn’t help but think that what we wound up getting, in the end, wasn’t worth my time to begin with.
The director at least attempts to get the drama off the ground, which is worth praise. Unfortunately, she ultimately fails to deliver on a much more interesting premise than the final product. Seriously, if the filmmakers involved would have stopped long enough to realize what a gem they had on their hands, you’d be reading a much different review.
Set in 1977, 7000 Miles chronicles the life of pilot Jo Standish (Alixzandra Dove) and her fiance Richard (David Sheftell) as they try to create opportunities for their small private airline. When Richard’s father, Edward (Sam McMurray), threatens to pull their financing, Jo discovers that her grandfather Bert (Maxwell Caulfield) has passed away. She rushes home to Hawaii to be with her grandmother Meli (Wendie Malick).
“…Meli suffers from sporadic personality shifts, and a mind-melting secret is eventually revealed.”
The feature is contrived, predictable, and never as endearing as it means to be. The production and art design don’t even try to masquerade as a period piece. For a story set in 1977, aesthetically, this plays like a student film and never takes the visual risks required to portray the decade it’s set in. Attention to detail matters, folks, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Frankly, though, none of that matters. Within the first 10 minutes, I knew where the story was headed, and that’s never a good thing. After Jo discovers that her grandma has dementia, Meli suffers from sporadic personality shifts, and a mind-melting secret is eventually revealed. In the right hands, 7000 Miles could have done so much to shed new light on an old legend but instead sticks to convention with an almost annoying level of commitment. The twist is obvious, especially when paying attention to Jo’s grandmother’s name, Meli. What sort of handholding does anyone need to figure this one out on their own?
But I did enjoy myself at times. Meli’s island community is presented as a genuine group of loveable eccentrics. There’s a message in here somewhere about supporting your neighbors, caring for the community, and loving each other. Unfortunately, Freedman’s screenplay doesn’t focus on it long enough for it to make a true impact. The most interesting aspect comes by way of Meli and her deceased husband/savior Bert, where a younger version of the couple is brought together during a brutal plane crash.
7000 Miles tells a boilerplate tale that would make even the most cliched Hallmark movie blush. However, I’ll officially go on record to say that I don’t mind Hallmark films. Is this patently bad? No. Is it worth watching? If you have the time, sure.
7000 Miles screened at the 2023 Cinequest Film Festival.
"…a message in here somewhere about supporting your neighbors, caring for the community, and loving each other."