Christian Living


The Stray: Movie Review

Star Rating
Movie Info


PG for thematic elements including a perilous situation


Drama, Family


October 6, 2017


Michael Cassidy, Sarah Lancaster, Connor Corum, Scott Christopher, Eliza de Azevedo Brown


Mitch Davis


Purdie Distribution

More on this movie at IMDb.com

CBN is not endorsing the films or TV shows CBN.com reviews. Our goal is to provide information about the latest in entertainment, both the good and the bad, so you may make an informed decision as to what is appropriate for you and your families.
Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Building upon the themes of prayer and second chances, The Stray is a heartwarming family movie based upon a real-life occurrence that beset its co-writer and director, Mitch Davis.

Davis, who is best known for his work on The Other Side of Heaven, crafts a story deeply rooted in his past that nearly cost him his family and his life. Starring Michael Cassidy (Argo), Sarah Lancaster (Chuck, Everwood), and Connor Corum (Heaven is for Real), the movie demonstrates how the things we sometimes value least in in life are actually the most important.


The Davis family is struggling mightily in more ways than one. Mitch is trying to make his mark in Hollywood as a young executive. The hours are long and arduous leaving little time for his family. His absence on the home front has created a seemingly irreparable rift with his nine-year-old son, causing his wife to question why they moved to California in the first place. Everything just seems wrong, miserable in fact. Then suddenly, without any prior warning, a stray dog, Pluto, emerges from the briars of nowhere to save their young daughter from imminent danger, provide badly needed companionship to their son, and help to restore a marriage that seems to be slowly ebbing toward divorce. This “guard” dog ultimately saves Mitch’s life, proving once and for all that God answers prayers … sometimes in the most unlikely ways.


Despite a little known cast, Davis has cobbled together a group of talent that is believable and works well together as a family unit.

With the unenviable task of playing a character who is actually the film’s director in real life, Cassidy does a commendable job of assuming the role of Mitch Davis. Even though he is creating a great deal of hardship for his family, Cassidy’s Mitch is likeable, believable and you can’t help but pull for the guy as he attempts to make things right.

Perhaps the most widely regarded member of the cast, Lancaster, known for her work on popular television series Chuck and Everwood, provides a solid performance as Mitch’s wife, Michelle. She proves to be a steady force throughout, serving as the rock of the Davis household.

To its credit, The Stray is filled with several scenes that the faith-based community will enjoy. Just before Mitch leaves on an ill-fated hiking trip with his son, two friends, and Pluto, he encourages his young daughter to pray for them. He quips, “You pray for us and we will pray for you. That way, we will be protected.” Later on, when a terrible thunderstorm is raging outside, the little girl asks her mother to pray for their family who are hiking out in the elements.

For all of its positive elements, The Stray does wander into heavy-handed territory at times. As Mitch, the three boys and Pluto are hiking high up in the Rocky Mountains, one of the youngsters turns to him and opines, “Those clouds look sad.” Like they’re about to do something they don’t want to do.” Sadly, this is a piece of dialogue that is sure to cause some to glance at their watch or take a restroom break.

Furthermore, there are many issues of continuity that bog the movie down, sometimes detracting from the powerful themes that make it so appealing. Things like:

  • It looks too warm to snow.
  • Pluto looks too clean to be a stray dog.
  • Mitch’s movie executive colleagues don’t look “Hollywood” enough.
  • The boys concern for Mitch after a life-threatening incident seems less than chaotic and stressful.


Fortunately, The Stray is such a heartwarming family movie that one can easily look past its drawbacks. The fact that the movie is filled with hope, faith, and unconditional love, is a poignant reminder that God can use anything, even a stray dog, to answer the prayers of an individual or family in need. The Stray proves that you can begin again.

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