A Week Away (AU - PG/UK - PG/US - TV-PG)

In a word: Exuberant

A Week Away

The cast of 'A Week Away'.  

The summer camp/high school musical has been staple of Disney’s lineup ever since High School Musical rose to fame. Now that format has been adapted in a faith-filled take on the formula in Netflix’s A Week Away.

"[W]hen the musical genre is combined with a campy, faith-filled story, the result is even more light and sugary. The likable leads and lively choreography make it easy to watch but A Week Away will be suited to audiences with a sweet tooth for inspirational stories."

Orphaned bad boy Will (Kevin Quinn) has made it a habit to run away from foster homes, schools and the cops. He is given one last chance to avoid juvenile detention, but only if he goes to the Christian summer camp Aweegaway. His initial reluctance is tempered when he catches the eye of Avery (Baillee Madison), the daughter of the owner of the camp. Their growing attraction to each other and to God is played against a backdrop of some friendly - and some not so friendly - camp games that include dodgeball, paintball and, of course, a climatic battle of the bands.

A Week Away combines original songs with modern covers of Christian classics from Amy Grant, Michael W Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman that includes tunes such as The Great Adventure, Dive, Baby, Baby and Place in This World. This forms a boppy, albeit somewhat familiar, playlist of songs that are staged with exuberant choreography full of spins, flips and acrobatics. While the energy is welcome and the performance is filled with gusto, many of the songs seem forced into scenes and don’t always have the intended emotional payoff.

A Week Away is overtly Christian in its script, story and style. Character arcs and scene setups are designed to have deliberate discussions about faith, the afterlife and give praise to God. With nearly every character a Christian and a clear intent to present the faith in a positive light, the film shies away from any real conflict. Instead, the quirky, nerdy support characters provide comic relief and the drama coming from an overly competitive rival comes across as sanitised and safe. 

The musical format is already associated with a sweet, fairy-tale atmosphere. So when the musical genre is combined with a campy, faith-filled story, the result is even more light and sugary. The likable leads and lively choreography make it easy to watch but A Week Away will be suited to audiences with a sweet tooth for inspirational stories.