Reviewed by: Christopher Walker
|Featuring||Erin Cottrell, Dale Midkiff, Victor Browne, Samantha Smith, Holliston Coleman, Brett Coker, Hank Stratton, Braeden Lemasters, Stephanie Nash, Dave Florek, Bret Loehr, Tanner Richie, Ned Schmidtke, Dale Waddington Horowitz, Ken Magee, Jeremy Shada, Trevor Gordon, Tyler Gordon, Lyndon Smith|
|Producer||Brian J. Gordon, H. Daniel Gross, Robert Halmi Jr., Michael Landon Jr., Larry Levinson, Nick Lombardo, Michael Moran, Erik Olson|
|Distributor||20th Century Fox|
“From best-selling author Janette Oke”
The “Love Comes Softly” series has hit entry number five and the novelty is still wearing thin, for me. This installment finds Missie (Erin Cottrell) three years later: being a single mother after her husband Willie was shot during a poker scuffle. She and Maddy move back in with her parents Clark and Marty (Dale Midkiff and Samantha Smith, taking Katherine Heigl’s place). She finds a new home, and finds a new teaching position that she settles right into, but Missie has lost all faith in herself, until a chance encounter at her father’s church where she adopts homeless orphan Belinda Marshall (Holliston Coleman).
Missie didn’t want to adopt another child into the family, as she is already taking care of Maddie (Brett Coker), but decides to welcome her in with open arms.
Missie also finds interest in Zack Tyler (Victor Browne), the town’s Sheriff. There are subplots and incidents that mirror Missie’s tragic losses, and through the experiences will she ever find a way to bring hope and joy?
I watched this movie when it debuted on the Hallmark Channel a year ago, and looked at the message boards on IMDb. A lot of loyal fans were outraged at the inclusion of Missie’s kids Jeff and Abel, as they are nowhere to be found, but they were even more furious at how Missie’s husband was written off, and how the storyline in the fifth novel is different than the movie’s synopsis. There are a few deaths: Willie’s death is shown, but not his face, and Clark kills a horse (despite the objection of Belinda; nothing is shot as the editing switches from Clark holding a shotgun to Belinda’s expression on her face, but the gunshot can still be heard in the film’s sound track).
Missie does maintain a strong sense of God’s involvement and how they measure up to the lives of others.
Michael Landon Jr. directed the first four installments in the series, and has passed the reigns to Mark Griffiths (although Landon serves as executive producer for the next two films). Both Griffiths and Landon bring the series to an all-time low. As much as there is strength in the movie, there is also weakness; the movie runs on the level of a regular soap opera television series. Some Christians may find redeeming values in the movie, such as the decent storyline, but all the plot holes and the sappy dialogue isn’t enough to save the movie itself.
This film is followed by a sixth movie that aired on Hallmark Channel, and will be out on DVD on May 9, which I’ve seen and will submit my review when the time approaches.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See review of the prequel to this film: Love’s Abiding Joy
Interview with producer Michael Landon Jr.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.