Years after Clark and Marty Davis settled into their new life together, their family is prosperous and successful. Missy Davis is a young woman now with a job and a mind of her own. All seems well until tragedy strikes—Clark receives a serious injury in a wood-cutting accident, which sends the entire family into a search for answers and hope. While taking care of Clark and praying for healing, Marty and Missy must work the fields in order to have the crops done in time for harvest. At the end of their rope, they suddenly receive help from an unexpected source. Little do they know that God has been watching over them all along and will allow them to be a part of His special plan.
Production Quality (2.5 points)
Michael Landon Jr. and Hallmark, in this installment, continued to showcase production superiority over other Christian films of the era. Love’s Enduring Promise has realistic sets and locations and great camera work. The video and sound quality are solid, including well-filmed outside scenes. The costuming is pretty good, with some minor issues regarding period authenticity. The only other caveats to raise are some poorly created special effects and inconsistent editing. At the beginning, the movie makes sense, but it becomes very rushed and choppy at the end, as will be explained next. Nonetheless, the Love Comes Softly series, at this point, was still produced well.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
As previously mentioned, the first half of the movie is interesting and it feels like the audience will really be able to get to know Janette Oke’s characters. However, once the major conflict is easily resolved, the plot meanders from there and comes to a predictable and forced conclusion. Besides this, this film is an inaccurate adaptation of original novel that does not improve upon the original plot. There are too many plot holes and unnecessary characters that only provide filler time. The inevitable romance seems forced; it’s hard to really appreciate what’s going on because the characters are too shallow. While the dialogue is okay, the characters need to be deeper. There is some real humor, but the Christian message is forced and not meaningful. In short, this plot had a lot of potential to be different and interesting and to package a profound Christian message into a movie with authentic, accessible characters, but it only comes off as half-measures.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
The cast size increased for the second installment, but the quality decreased. There are only a handful of good actors and actresses; the child actors are not coached well. Line delivery is overly dramatic, like every line is supposed to be a deep spiritual truth. But at the same time, emotions seem shallow. Unfortunately, low quality acting derails an otherwise above average film.
Janette Oke’s beloved series has a mountain of good content where deep characters and realistic frontier struggles are concerned. However, Michael Landon Jr. and team did not capture what they needed to capture. Love Comes Softy could have been an epic saga, but we are only left to wonder what could have been. Most audiences will be fine with Love’s Enduring Promise, mostly because of the era it was released in, but it needed something more. In the future, we hope that this movie genre is redeemed from ‘just okay’ status.
Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points