The cinematic landscape today doesn’t often allow for a film with a strong human element. So when the opportunity arose to view Missing Mom (Pyre Productions, Sighthound Studios, Running time: 85 minutes), the latest documentary from Rob McCallum and Jordan C. Morris, I took it — as should anyone searching for their own answers on family relationships.
McCallum, whose body of work has inspired many to go above and beyond in search of that next life challenge — including the hit 2015 gaming documentary “Nintendo Quest” — will have the audience deeply invested in what his feelings during certain sequences in the film. More importantly, however, while watching, the viewers will reflect on what they would do if they found themselves in similar situations.
Missing Mom is the story of McCallum and his half-brother Chris Byford as they embarked on an adventure to locate their mother, Terri Lee Parker, who has been absent from their lives for the past 25 years. The journey for McCallum and Byford included interviews and meetings with family members, law organizations and friends whose reactions to the brothers’ search varied, ranging from encouragement to apathy.
While several leads result in roadblocks or dead ends, other opportunities present themselves soon after. Whether or not they actually find their mother is a point of conjecture for the film; as with his previous hit film, there is a larger picture to be seen that provides an even better perspective. It is under the direction of Morris and McCallum and also McCallum’s own narration that the audience is able to begin the next emotional part of the journey.
The movie takes a much closer look at McCallum himself, who is willing to put his family life on display for all to see. As the film progresses, we are provided an inner glimpse not only of the reasoning leading to the impetus for the search but his emotional and relationship issues he faces, which were caused by his family life.
It is a transparent look at a man who has reached a stage of his life where he has achieved success in the face of disparity, disappointment and loss with a grit and determination. “Missing Mom” takes the viewers on a roller coaster of emotions and it is the ride itself that is the most gut-wrenching part of this film.
Those who have had a chance to see “Nintendo Quest” will be familiar with the McCallum style of filmmaking when it comes to the look, sound and pace of the film. While some may be looking for a different flow because of the subject matter, it is that film structure McCallum has become known for that provides support to what is a very tough subject to tackle.
“Missing Mom” handles the subject matter with a conservative yet hopeful outlook (and a healthy dose of frustration) of finding her. It is this style that allows viewers to agonize with McCallum when bad news hits and rejoice when a glimmer of sunshine emerges to (hopefully) brighten his path. The film does not paint a pretty picture for anyone directly involved within the family, including their mother. It is that transparency, however, that provides clarity for the brothers and an element of strength that gives “Missing Mom” the cohesion in the narrative it deserves.
The twists and turns of the film will keep viewers firmly entrenched as both they and the brothers learn how this particular quest will end. Do the brothers end up finding their mother after so many years? While I will not share the answer, the gripping tale of “Missing Mom” takes the audience on its own journey of raw emotions that makes this documentary one that should not be missed.
Please note that for this review we at Pop Culture Cosmos and Game Source did receive a code/copy/product from the Public Relations Firm, Developer, Manufacturer and/or Publisher responsible for distribution to the press.