By Reno Rangan


Love Comes Softly (2003) Review – The Story of Marty: The Beginning of The Love Saga

This was Hallmark’s production, a television movie series called Love Saga. This is the first one in the 11 episodes, a long movie series. The first 8 are based on the books by Janette Oke and remaining 3 are not. Each chapter in each film that briefs different stages of lives in the different timeline and characters. It’s the dramatized romance stories in the times of the cowboy culture in the United States, but in the realistic approach. So my reviews are going to be sequels and prequels to this one.

I haven’t done this like in five years, after the Ernest movies. I watched them one after another for weeks, that was a quite an experience apart from my likes and dislikes parts from that series. Watching it all together in a short period of time is better and gives an opportunity to follow the series easily than watching them once per year on the television. It is going to be a simple and short review, that’s what I’m thinking to give. Okay, then let’s jump into the ‘ocean of love’ for a long swim.

As I said this is the first film in the eleven and it kicks off quite quickly with a tragic event happening in the beginning. All about the present narrative, it does not let you know any past events except the characters talking about it in required parts which somehow allows the viewers to get it. I bet in the follow-ups we are going to know more about those, so I did not bother about the character developments in this pilot episode. Engaging story, but very-very simple and too short. A perfect television movie with some great acts and with the well blended background scores.

“You know… Sometimes love isn’t fireworks.
Sometimes love just comes softly.”

The story is set in the middle of the 1800s. A young woman begins to narrate her story in the background. A journey of her life in a wagon wheel with her husband. All they have dreamt together is about to happen, but unexpectedly it all shatters like a tree struck by a lightning. Leaves misery behind to carry with clueless about what’s coming up. It is about the time to face the nature’s challenge, so the decision must be made quickly to avoid the threat. All these happen within the first ten minutes, the actual story constructive unfolds in the following hour. That lets you know the meaning of the title.

Having Katherine Heigl on-board was the advantage for the movie to grab the attention of the television audience. In fact, it was one of her earlier movies in her career before she was getting very famous. I was interesting only after seeing her name in the cast. But everyone performed well in their roles. The whole story was told in the span of one rotation of the yearly season. As the seasons change how the characters are well refined and find life’s pleasure from a new beginning.

There might be no large cast, but with that it’s managed well to tell a beautiful tale that covers themes like faith, hope, dream and love. This kind of story suits for reading, and might look short for a movie, but surprisingly a better movie than I anticipated. There’s no second thought, it was a fine adaptation. I enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the rest of the installments.

Rating: 8/10



Love’s Enduring Promise (2004) Review – The Story of Missie Davis: Finding a New Life

The second movie in Hallmark’s Love Comes Softly movie series. The story, the characters and a few casts continued from the first, but leaps forward to a few years where we can see the all grown up Missie. She’s a school teacher who is living happily with her two younger brothers and parents. This was a good movie as well and well narrated without hurriedness like the first film that ran just under the 90 minutes.

This is the Missie Davis story. The movie talks about her life as a young woman who encounters her love for the first time. What she expects from it and her experience in the style of between mid and late 1800s. It was not all about the romance, but some drama centers around an accident that happen at the beginning. In the other parallel string there’s a story of another family, connected with the past events and also introduced a few characters of its own.

Kind of depressing from the story narration to music, but in a good way. Rising from the tragedy and sorrow is the main theme. The story moved on to the next generation, the young cast as well performed very well. As the film concentrates around Missie, the involvement of other characters are very compressed. Thus, it looks like a minimal cast movie and the other reason is the most of the scenes were shot in isolated places like having only two characters around.

“Never despise meager beginning.”

I saw the loop, a circle, combining the first two films in the series. I mean this second movie’s ending was similar to how the first movie began. That gave me some idea of what might have happened before the first film’s commencement. It is only my guessing, who knows, in the next parts more truths could be revealed. As for looking at the style of narration, there aren’t any flashbacks, not in the pictures, maybe by the remembering the past.

A very good follow-up, cleverly switched to another phase of the storytelling and by expanding, opens more windows for the next parts. It is slow paced and I’m not complaining about that because I was expecting it. Being a television movie, it’s given the overall best product. Now I can’t wait for the third movie.

Rating: 8/10



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