This is the (first) sequel to Love Comes Softly, so it was nice to see them so close together. And I was actually interested to see more of Marty and Clark’s story, even though the first movie tied it off pretty nicely.
This is mostly Missy’s story, though – the 9-year-old daughter from the first film. It’s now ten years later, and Missy is a schoolteacher (using those reading skills she learned from Marty in the first film) in the community’s one-room schoolhouse. And she’s played by January Jones, which strikes me now as pretty dumb casting, but I mean, Jones was very young here and didn’t have Mad Men baggage. I swear, she smiles more in ten minutes of this movie than she has in the entire corpus of other work I’ve seen her in. But still, she just seems VERY unlike the Missy of the earlier film – I can’t imagine that spitfire of a 9-year-old growing up into this dismissive and bland young woman.
So that’s actually my big problem with the movie, but it’s a major one, because Jones has to carry a good bit of it, and she’s even less up to it than Heigl was up to carrying the first one. It takes a surprisingly long time for Heigl to show up here, leading me to surmise that something terrible had happened to Marty in the meantime, but that was a (probably unintentional) red herring.
I should’ve known there was nothing to fear, because this movie signals all of its mysteries with the most obvious music cues ever – almost made me laugh a few times. Nate walks on screen – ominous music. Oh, so does he have some kind of tragic backstory? OH HE DOES? I never would’ve guessed. Nate’s actually a pretty cool guy, though, and I liked the actor. The love triangle between him, Missy, and the rich dude wasn’t as tension-filled as it could’ve been, as it was always pretty obvious who was going to win her.
The other plot with Clark’s injury and illness is more compelling, but peters out as he improves, and unfortunately, the two boys who play Missy’s younger siblings are not nearly as interesting or watchable as Missy herself was at nine. I was pleased at the outcome of the story, but I wasn’t nearly as invested in it as the first one, especially once Clark recovered – that plotline had some stakes, but the love triangle one didn’t really, which made it feel like the film was just tying off ends rather than actually coming to a climax and finale.
Stats and stuff…
directed by Michael Landon, Jr., written by Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley
starring January Jones, Logan Bartholomew, Dale Midkiff, Katherine Heigl, Mackenzie Astin
I’m ranking all my Challenge films on Flickchart (as I do all the films I see), a movie-ranking website that asks you to choose your favorite between two movies until it builds a ranked list of your favorites. Just for fun, I will average out the rankings and keep a running tally of whose recommendations rank the highest. When you add a film to Flickchart, it pits it against films already on your chart to see where it should fall. Here’s how Love’s Enduring Promise entered my chart:
Love’s Enduring Promise < The Good Shepherd
Love’s Enduring Promise > On an Island with You
Love’s Enduring Promise < Newsies
Love’s Enduring Promise > Total Recall (2012)
Love’s Enduring Promise > Smitten Kitten
Love’s Enduring Promise < A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Love’s Enduring Promise < Spy Kids
Love’s Enduring Promise > The Score
Love’s Enduring Promise > Viva Las Vegas
Love’s Enduring Promise > I am Comic
Love’s Enduring Promise > Miami Vice
Love’s Enduring Promise < The Cheap Detective
Final #2425 out of 3737 films on my chart (35%)
It is now my #2 Michael Landon Jr. film, my #2 Katherine Heigl film, my #3 January Jones film, and my #53 film of 2004.
Love’s Enduring Promise was recommended by Micaela, my cousin’s daughter. Averaging together this #2425 ranking with my #1672 ranking of her other film, Love Comes Softly, gives Micaela an average ranking of 2048.