17 November 2013

Movie Review: "Love's Abiding Joy"

Rated: PG for mild thematic elements (US) / PG: "Mature Theme" (Canada)
Starring: Erin Cottrell, Logan Bartholomew, and Dale Midkiff
Released: October 6, 2006 (limited theatrical release) / January 2, 2007 (DVD)
Synopsis: Missie LaHaye (Erin Cottrell) and her husband Willie (Logan Bartholomew, The Ultimate Life) are enjoying life in the Old West.  Missie is a teacher at a one-room schoolhouse, while Willie works the land.  However, it all comes to an abrupt halt when their baby daughter Kathy dies in her sleep.  With Missie unable to teach anymore, Willie takes a job offer to become sheriff of their town, while his adopted son Jeff (Drew Tyler Bell) falls in love with Colette (Mae Whitman, State of Grace), the daughter of a crooked businessman who is causing Willie nothing but trouble.  Will this family ever survive?
Based on the book by Janette Oke.

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4/5
It's been a few months since I saw the film that precedes this one--this is part of a long series, in case you didn't know--so, some of the references to the previous films were lost on me.  However, even though I didn't quite understand everything, the plot was engaging if slow-moving.  Though it may start off very tragically, it has its happy moments.  Still, Missie exclaims something in one scene about it being the first time she could feel the rain that didn't exactly make sense.

Production Values: 3.5/5
The sets were great; the soundtrack, good, but nothing special; the acting mostly good, although there was a spot or two where it was overdone.  Not much to say other than that.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
You'd expect a movie based on a Christian novel to be full of positive elements...and you'd be right.  Overcoming tragedy, the gift of a family, respect for God, and selflessness are themes seen all through this movie.

Sex: 4.5/5
Some mild kissing.

Nudity: 5/5

Language: 4.5/5
The main antagonist uses the h-word once.

Violence: 4/5
A man fires a gun, but only shoots at objects and doesn't hurt anyone.

Drugs: 3.5/5
The main antagonist is seen smoking a few times and drinking at least once.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 2.5/5
The scenes where Kathy's death are mentioned are emotionally charged, especially when it first happens.  Also, a scene where it appears a boy will die for a crime he didn't commit is a bit startling.

Final Score: 4/5
It's amazing how well the Love Comes Softly series continues to do.  Though many of them have been released direct-to-video, they wouldn't keep making them if they didn't make money.  Maybe Hollywood needs to learn that there actually is money to be found in positive entertainment for adults.  Regardless of that, those of you who have seen the previous films know what to expect from this series...and that's exactly what you get from Love's Abiding Joy.  If you didn't like the earlier movies, you won't like this one, but fans of these flicks--of which I am one!--will find plenty to like about this one.  It'll sure take a long time to finish all of them, though...

No comments:

Post a Comment