Sky Blossom Parent Guide
Filled with portraits of love, compassion, and grit, this is a documentary that will plant itself in your heart.
Parent Movie Review
Reflecting on paratroopers who came to the rescue of their fellow soldiers, Colonel Jack Jacobs of the 82nd Airborne, described their parachutes as looking like flowers; like sky blossoms.
Director Richard Lui sees a new generation of sky blossoms. This cohort isn’t in the military, rather it’s children, teens, and young Millennials who are frontline caregivers for disabled family members, a sizeable number of whom are military veterans.
It’s estimated that 5.4 million American children serve as caregivers, and this documentary introduces us to six of them, all across the country, coping with a variety of circumstances. From Tennessee to Pennsylvania, Michigan to California, and all the way to Hawaii, these young people summon up deep reserves of love, compassion, and just plain grit as they care for their parents and grandparents. Some of these youngsters are helping a parent in caregiving duties, but some have no adult support at all.
It’s the young people in the latter group – the ones carrying the burden alone – who will break viewers’ hearts. There’s Jenna Ploof, a 21 year old with a full course load at college, a full time job, and another shift at home, cooking, paying bills, and looking after her father. Any of these would be a heavy load for a young adult but her father is a diabetic with a history of stroke. The US Navy vet lost a leg and his job as a truck driver, throwing the family into homelessness for months. But for the indomitable Jenna, nothing ever dents her desire to help her ailing parent: “My dad took care of me for the first 18 years,” she says. “The least I could do is step down on the step and let him put my hand on my shoulder.”
This sense of love and loyalty pervades the movie. From the Hawaiian siblings who step back on their college studies to care for a grandfather to an 11 year old girl in California who tries to protect her father from curious stares and hurtful comments, these are young people who feel a deep sense of responsibility for those they love. They even take remarkable steps, with Deryn Allen of Tennessee, deciding as a little girl to be her dad’s nurse, a conviction that would see her changing his IVs, pouring medication into open wounds, and now, as a teenager, helping him with prosthetic legs. Spouses, too, demonstrate the deep empathy that comes with profound love. Ricio - whose husband suffered both throat cancer and an autoimmune muscle wasting disease and can no longer eat food - eats the food he craves, so he can vicariously enjoy his favorites. She even offers to cut off her hair to be with him as his hair falls out.
This is a movie that can’t be watched without emotion. There’s amazement at the unselfishness and courage of these families. There’s grief for the losses and pain they have suffered. There’s concern for the physical and emotional burdens borne by these young people. There’s anger at a frayed social safety net that leaves men who put their bodies on the line for their country in poverty or struggling to find and claim their rightful stipends. And there’s gratitude to director Richard Lui for letting us meet these remarkable people.Directed by Richard Lui. Starring Deryn Allen, Jenna Ploof, Rhianna Alvarado, Camille Grief, Kamaile Kapanui, Kaleo Kapanui. Running time: 79 minutes. Theatrical release May 28, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for Sky Blossom
Rating & Content Info
Why is Sky Blossom rated Not Rated? Sky Blossom is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A man experiences pain while putting on prosthetics. A man plays a video game with scenes of combat. News footage of military operations – man screams after he’s injured. There’s mention of a man stepping on an IED. There’s mention of suicide by hanging.
Sexual Content: A woman has an unwed pregnancy. There’s an inadvertent mention of an IUD.
Profanity: There are approximately five terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
Sky Blossom Parents' Guide
If you are interested in helping caregivers for military veterans, you can donate to Hidden Heroes, a charity founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole. Their website is here.
Does watching this movie make you wonder about the struggles of people you interact with? What kinds of challenges do your classmates face? What can you do to be more sympathetic and supportive?
Related home video titles:
Hollywood has tackled the challenges of returning vets in several films. Father Soldier Son shares the unexpected battle faced by Brian Eisch as he struggles to adapt to his injuries while raising his sons. A military chaplain must work to restore his marriage after a deployment to Iraq in Indivisible. Louis Zamperini bears psychological scars after harrowing experiences in a Japanese POW camp. His healing process is depicted in Unbroken: Path to Redemption
A group of British military spouses get together to raise spirits by forming a choir in Military Wives.