Milton's Secret (PG)
With screenwriters Donald Martin and Sara B. Cooper, Bain adapted Milton's Secret: An Adventure of Discovery Through Then, When, and the Power of Now, a children's book by Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose) and Robert Friedman. Bain's film functions as a delivery system for Tolle's spiritual philosophy, and might have been the New Age equivalent of a stilted faith-based drama if not for its smart, nuanced performances.
Sutherland is viewed as an éminence grise but wears the adoration lightly. The embodiment of sharp-tongued evil in The Hunger Games, here he uses those dulcet tones to soothe this anxious tween. (Bain emphasizes Sutherland's hippie qualities with Donovan songs.) Milton's Secret is also infused with what Americans see as Canadian nice: a gentle appeal to our better angels.
Bain is better at portraying adults affecting and being effected by a wise child than Milton's emotional transformation, which comes from the head, not the heart. This ultimately makes Milton's Secret more appealing to concerned parents than the kids you might hope will heed its message.