Our rating: 5 out of 5
reviewed by Rissi C.
With the seventh installment to this popular Hallmark series, we are getting close to the end of the Janette Oke books. The latest installment follows Belinda Simpson as she struggles with the life of a female doctor in a time when it was rarely accepted.
Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Belinda (Sarah Jones) has decided to leave the city behind and accept a post in a small Missouri town where an illness is rapidly spreading through the citizens. Belinda’s devoted friend and fellow doctor Annie Nelson (Haylie Duff) travels with her in order to help her settle in and give assistance with the disease before continuing on to her own new post in Kansas. On arrival Belinda is disheartened to be met with such opposition from the townspeople. Many feel the local home for orphans is where this mysterious disease began and want the orphans and their caretaker Hattie (Cloris Leachman) run out of town despite their being ill. The mayor (Patrick Duffy) has tried to keep the peace as best as he can while giving Belinda the chance to prove herself and diagnose the disease. As more people fall ill, Belinda is at her wits end on how to save these people, but with the help of a precocious orphan Lily (Annalise Basso), the charming blacksmith Lee Owens (Jordan Bridges), and a renewed faith in God, Belinda may just find what she’s been missing.
Those of you that follow this series may already know what a disappointment they have been to me in comparison to their original stories. Love Takes Wing once again takes many liberties, not the least of which is the death of Drew (which is absent from the novel) and Belinda becoming a doctor rather than a nurse, which was her ambition in the story. This is the first movie that cannot really be compared the to novel apart from Belinda’s character; so much of the final three novels were compacted in the sixth adaptation that filmmakers really didn’t have much to work with from its original story. Michael Landon Jr. and his writers seem to want to make them all into romances. The books all had some form of romantic tension but to me, killing off husbands unnecessarily is unforgivable. For the first time, the costumes were actually decent and compliment both the actors and the period. Many of the actors aren’t particularly well cast because they have such modern characteristics. Sarah Jones does surprisingly well as Belinda; she’s a bit better than the former actress who played the character, but they should have chosen someone with similar coloring. Given the short running time, there aren’t many character developments but Belinda’s character seemed to suffer the most. Jones focused more on depicting Belinda’s recent loss and because of that she didn’t feel much sorrow when losing a patient, or it didn’t come through very well on screen.
Once again nothing is in here that would be considered “improper.” A man sets fire to a building that houses many people, putting lives in danger. People die from various illnesses. There is a man who is threatening at times towards Belinda and Lily, but they never came to any harm. With only one more to be released on DVD, I’m anxious to see this series conclusion; hopefully Love Finds a Home will be truer to the books. Prior to this release I did watch all but one of the former adaptations and Love Comes Softly is by far the strongest. If you want to see a film based entirely on any of Oke’s books stick with that one, but if you haven't read the books, you will find the entire series enjoyable. If nothing else it reminds us why we so enjoy films that not only have moral themes but nothing more in them than a sweet kiss and a predictable conclusion that leaves a smile.