Following the tragic death of her husband, Belinda Simpson travels to a small town in Missouri to both visit her medical school friend and to become the town’s doctor. However, the townspeople do not know what to think about having a woman doctor. Also, Belinda discovers that the town is currently embroiled in a cholera epidemic that they cannot seem to control. Teaming up with a local blacksmith she might be falling for, Belinda also feels compassion for an orphan girl who reminds her of herself at that age. In the face of adversity, Belinda must stand up and fight for what she believes in.
Production Quality (.5 point)
With an entirely different production team, the Love Comes Softly saga takes a different turn and loses its original intent to put a good face on poorly constructed plots. There is a significant drop in production quality, with barely average video quality, unprofessional camera work, poor lighting, and inconsistent sound quality. Props and costuming become obviously cheap in Love Takes Wing. Historical authenticity hovers around the same level it has been throughout the latter half of the franchise. The only thing that keeps the production from being terrible is the okay editing and the fact that the whole thing could really be worse. At this point, with the complete departure of Michael Landon Jr., it is extremely obvious that Hallmark is just fulfilling a contract or some type of commitment to force movies bearing titles of Janette Oke books to happen.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
It has been stressed throughout this series of reviews that Hallmark and company took great creative license with Oke’s original plots, but Love Takes Wing hits a new low by replicating the basic plot structure of Love’s Unending Legacy. This structure is as follows: the female lead’s husband from the previous film dies between movies, prompting the female lead to move to a different town, where she finds a widespread conflict to solve with a new broken male lead she will marry in the end after an empty and meaningless courtship. Also, the female lead adopts an orphan girl. At this point, it’s painfully obvious that Hallmark is addicted to itself and to its obsession for creating empty romances and courtships that inevitably end in a ‘fairytale’ wedding before the audience can even determine whether or not their basically empty marriage will even last (essentially, that’s the state of marriage in America). But I digress. In short, there’s really nothing else to discuss here—overtly copied plots get automatic zero points, especially when it’s contained within the same movie saga.
Acting Quality (1 point)
On a more positive note, the acting quality slighting improves in this installment. The costuming and makeup is not so extravagant. Dale Midkiff’s absence is refreshing. However, there are still obvious problems, such as the poor Belinda replacement. If you’re going to replace an actress, at least try to keep some measure of continuity so the audience doesn’t have to guess who’s who. Overall, the acting isn’t really that great in Takes Wing, which warrants another low score.
It should be noted that avid Love Comes Softly didn’t even fully enjoy Love Takes Wing. Hallmark apparently thinks people want to see the same exact plot over and over again. In our opinion, production companies should think better of their audiences and not dumb entertainment down to such levels. As the Love Comes Softly series sputters to an end, we offer this advice to Christian film-makers: please, please, please be original with your plots. God has given us creativity, let’s use it wisely.
Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points
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Keeping with the spirit of my other comments, I intend to provide the real plot that inspired the title of this film. In Janette Oke’s book, Love Takes Wing, Belinda is presented with the opportunity to care for an elderly woman in her hometown of Boston. She accepts and moves in with Mrs. Stafford-Smyth to help her recover from a stroke. During her time there, Belinda is introduced to the high living enjoyed by Mrs. Stafford-Smyth and her friends. Indoor baths, servants, and expensive clothing are luxuries that Belinda has never known. She becomes comfortable with this new way of living and even begins to enjoy it. During her stay, she learns of her employer’s unfortunate relationship with her sons, who care nothing for her, and are simply waiting for her to die so that they can inherit the estate. Although Belinda enjoys the comforts of rich living, she realizes that these worldly pleasures do not bring her joy, rather emptiness and feelings of restlessness. The book ends with the plot unresolved, preparing for the next novel. Once again, you can see that this film has nothing to do with the original plot. The least that they could have done was combine this book’s plot with the final one, titling it “Love Finds A Home”, as that is what happens at the end of the story.