Sunday, October 2, 2011

Love's Everlasting Courage

About the Movie (from the Hallmark Channel website):

"Clark Davis (Wes Brown) struggles to maintain his land and support his family during a long drought. With a bank loan to repay, his wife, Ellen (Julie Mond), takes a job in town as a seamstress, but soon becomes ill with scarlet fever. Devastated to lose his beloved wife, Clark and his young daughter Missie (Morgan Lily) turn to his parents Irene (Cheryl Ladd) and Lloyd (Bruce Boxleitner) for support. Clark must find a way to save his farm and survive Ellen's death without losing the person he loves most: his daughter."

My Review:

After seeing the first prequel Love Begins when it aired on September 17th, and after re-watching the original Love Comes Softly the following weekend, Love's Everlasting Courage was not much of a surprise and served as a predictable transition piece.

Like Love Begins, these characters left me wanting more. Clark's lack of depth is a bit disheartening, as are his see-sawing emotions. The conversations and scenes feel a bit stilted, and also share a lack of historically satisfying quality with its predecessor. Not to mention the fact that the sister who played such a dominant role in the first prequel is suspiciously absent in the second one.

That being said, this movie is more meaningful than Love Begins, and the inclusion of Ben and Sarah's characters (from the original Love Comes Softly) is a sweet surprise for long-time fans. How fun to see them meet - although Ben is more adorable rather than stern and handsome! ;)

The title of the movie - Love's Everlasting Courage - is fitting, and one that serves as a good concluding note for those who have been following this "Love Saga," as Hallmark terms it. In this movie we only see Clark's transition stage, following the death of his first wife and preceding his marriage with Marty. Yet even amid all the tragedy and uncertainty, the love of God and family sustains Clark and reminds him of the courage needed to trust God and face the coming days.



Commentary:

My friend and I had a running commentary going throughout the movie, as we are apt to do while watching movies together! ;) Here are some of our observations/comments that you might enjoy:
  • The rattlesnake finally shows up! We were certain that the younger sister was going to be bit by a rattlesnake in Love Begins after Clark warns her to beware of rattlesnakes in the high grass. And yet she goes to the meadow about 5 times or so (possible exaggeration...) and never gets bit! Talk about unfulfilled foreshadowing. So what do they do? They stick a rattlesnake in the very beginning of this movie. ;)
  • My friend kept trying to diagnose Ellen as she showed signs of getting sick. The fatigue, the paleness, the fever, and the red rashes all make sense for scarlet fever from what I can tell after Googling the disease - but the cough??? Not sure about that one...
  • This one's my favorite! During the commercial break, there was a Hallmark advertisement for the "Love Saga" (this series), and they talked about how "love heals" and "love triumphs." Well, my friend wasn't sure if Love Triumphs was a reference to the name of another movie they were making! We groaned (and laughed, of course), then discussed what they could possibly do to extend this series. We decided that Love Triumphs would be the prequel to the prequels - a story about Clark's parents and how they met during the Civil War while he was fighting for the Union and she was a Confederate spy. ;)
Anybody else see the movie this weekend?

10 comments:

Julie said...

I love that you have enjoyed all of the Love Comes Softly movies. Having read the series many years ago I must say that the movies have just been a huge disappointment to me! Ack! Isn't that terrible? But the movies do not follow the books at all! So I can't even watch them with an unbiased eye because I keep saying "THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN IN THE BOOK!" The books were also both of my daughters favorites when they were younger and they too have a hard time watching the movies without being critical. Oh well...everyone that I know that hasn't read the books love the movies!

Amber S. said...

Julie,

Once upon a time I think I did actually read all of the books...although the only ones I actually own right now are the last three. The movies do kind of go off on their own tangents, to be sure, although the first one was pretty close, right? Like I said, I think I did read them all, but if I did it was a long time ago! ;)

It is disappointing to see some of the changes they made (like in the latter movies with Drew - I so loved his character in the books and how he and Belinda met!). However, I guess it doesn't bother me quite as much. Mostly, I love the depth of the first few movies, and I'm more disappointed in the lack of quality in the latter movies. For me personally, I feel like it's OK for them to make the movies unique (only very loosely based on the books), but I want the movies to be good stories in their own right, you know? And the latter ones just haven't quite been up to par.

I did watch the fourth movie ("Love's Abiding Joy") with my friend after we finished "Love's Everlasting Courage," though, and I enjoyed watching it yet again. :) Yes, there are some cheesy moments, I'll admit it. But the angle on grief and ultimately claiming joy is very moving. (That, and I just love Willie and some of those other heroes!) ;)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm sorry you don't enjoy the movies as much. :(

~Amber

Julie said...

I think they are good moral viewing movies for sure. I just can't get past the fact that they don't follow the books. If they didn't have the "Love Comes Softly" title and the names of some of the characters I would have been all over them cheesy or not. ha! Frankly I'm glad that they(Hollywood)can still make a clean and moral love story.

Amber S. said...

Julie,

I understand. It is hard to see that they use the book titles but differ quite a bit from the books themselves! But at least for the most part they keep with the uplifting and sweet spirit of the books. :)

I'm glad that there are some clean, moral movies still out there! I love Michael Landon Jr.'s movies. :) (He directed the first four of these ones.)

~Amber

Julie said...

Yes, I loved the sweet uplifting spirit of the books. And I'm assuming that Michael Landon Jr. is the son of Michael Landon who directed the Little House on the Prairie series? I loved that show!

Looking forward to seeing your review of Kiss of Night. I too am on the blog tour.

Amber S. said...

Julie,

Yep, one and the same! :) I haven't actually seen many of the Little House on the Prairie episodes, but I really enjoy Michael Landon's Highway to Heaven series!

As for Michael Landon Jr., he's directed several movies based on Christian fiction, from the first four of the Love Comes Softly movies, to Francine Rivers' The Last Sin Eater and a couple of Beverly Lewis Amish movies. He also did this really adorable real life + animated version of The Velveteen Rabbit! So cute. :)

Oh, yes, I enjoyed Kiss of Night overall! Very engaging! Looking forward to your review, as well. :)

~Amber

Faye said...

I really liked the books and have seen all the movies so far except these, because I don't have the Hallmark Channel. But I hope to see them after they come out on DVD. I agree that I don't like how they changed the stuff around, I was commenting to a friend who is also a fan, that in this series there seems to be a "curse of the first spouse" because they seem to kill off the character's first husband or first wife alot. But I am very much looking forward to watching these new prequels :)

Amber S. said...

Faye,

LOL! So true! ;) I've noticed that, as well - how they keep killing off all those poor husbands! Dear Willie and Drew!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these prequels when you get a chance to see them. :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

~Amber

Laura Frantz said...

Amber, I was thinking of you when this movie aired and have been too busy to read this till now. I see our impressions are the same. Sweet story without the desired depth! I am just smitten with Wes/Clark. He reminds me of a young Cary Grant;) And Julia Mond makes a very appealing heroine, minus that strange cough! Love your running commentary!

Amber S. said...

Laura,

Aww, thanks for thinking of me! :) And I know you've been keeping busy, so it's no problem!

Glad we're agreed overall about the movie. Have you seen the second, third, and fourth "Love Comes Softly" movies? I am absolutely smitten with Willie!

And glad you enjoyed the commentary! ;) My friend and I had fun watching the movie together. :)

~Amber