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Review: Would-be tearjerker ‘Daisy Winters’ tries too hard

Sterling Jerins, front, and Brooke Shields in the movie "Daisy Winters."
(Hannover House )

Criticizing this good-natured film feels like kicking a puppy while it stares up at you with its big, watery eyes. “Daisy Winters” easily gets the bingo for a standard sentimental drama with elements like terminal illness, a precocious child, sunny cinematography and a soundtrack filled with acoustic guitar-driven pop songs. However, other than its performances, everything it offers feels inorganic.

Daisy (Sterling Jerins) is the only child of cancer-stricken Sandy (Brooke Shields), whose illness has led the 11-year-old to be bold and independent. Their relationship is strong, but Daisy longs to learn the identity of her father, which her mom refuses to share. When Sandy’s prognosis looks grim, Daisy decides she must plan for her own future.

Writer-director Beth LaMure makes her debut with this technically proficient indie drama featuring solid production values. Performances from Jerins and Shields are strong, as is supporting work from Paul Blackthorne, Carrie Preston and Iwan Rheon.

However, each turn in the story feels unlikely and manufactured. The script blunts its own emotional impact with coincidences, odd choices and an ending that feels too neat, even for an inspirational film of this nature. “Daisy Winters” works so hard to do good, but ultimately, it can’t be good.

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‘Daisy Winters’

Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic content including some drug material, brief strong language and some suggestive images

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Playing: Regal Long Beach Stadium 26

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