WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Love Comes Softly by Michael Landon Jr. (Director)
Type: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Western
Basic Plot: After Marty’s husband dies, she forces herself into a temporary marriage of convenience with Clark Davis, a man she has just met. As she discovers the healing that God and love have for her, she wonders if she really wants this marriage to remain only temporary.
Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: Love Comes Softly mixes tragedy and comedy with a puff of Christianity. Though the theme is sad and the characters hurting, humorous events and circumstances lighten the sad themes. Throughout, God is given respect and honor through prayer and hymns. The only complaint is that some of the writing did sound a little forced and awkward, but this was only occasionally. Most of it was natural and even at times touching.
Acting: 4/5 Well Done: Unlike the wooden and even painful acting of most Christian movies, this movie has real acting and professional actors and actresses. I believe using real actors and actresses really helped make the movie flow well, as that is what most of the movie hangs on. Scenes of drama and crying touch the heart, causing the viewers to feel the characters pain.
Costumes and Scenery: 4/5 Well Done: Costumes are modest, elegant, and accurate. Perhaps because the movie is not too new, the outfits do not have the brushed over magical look that many movies and TV series tend to have. Though I often like the done up look, since the movie was done on the prairie, I feel like the roughness adds to the realism.
Scenes were well decorated and shot. Whether it was indoors or outdoors, it was both realistic and old fashioned in a cozy way. Scenes were also well shot, with little to no awkward scenes or camera shaking.
Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The moral of overcoming pain with God, love, and a caring for others is there as long as a brief discussion on why God allows bad things to happen. The first one is well delivered, subtle and sweet. Marty learns to again become happy and cheerful as she is loved and as she helps a girl come to terms of her own. The second moral tries to explain the commonly asked question “Why does God let bad things happen?” It explains that it isn’t about God letting bad things happen more so than God comforting us and being with us when bad things happen. This is a good focus shift, though like many movies, does not directly answer the question, therefore Christians are probably more likely to accept than non-Christians, though non-Christians and hurting Christians may accept it if God leads them to it.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: I would have to say that this is one of the best Christian movies I have ever seen. With a good story, real acting, and beautiful costumes, I would have to recommend this, in quality, to Christians and pioneer enthusiast alike. I especially liked the Christian themes, as they were not neglected, but at the same time not pushed down in a preachy manner.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Suggestive Content: A man walks in on a woman taking a bath, though the viewers don’t see anything and the man is embarrassed. A girl asks a woman where a baby came from, and the woman says that a man loved a woman “so much that it spilled over and made a baby.” The girl says a large family that “must have a lot of love spillin’ over.” There are two kisses and a near kiss between married people, as well one or two incidences each of modest tickling and holding. A woman makes an indirect reference to chicken’s “rears” by calling it “you know,” and a girl says the word. At the beginning and end of the movie, a woman wears a “v” neck shirt that some might consider low, and once or twice clothing can be moved in a way as to be a bit revealing. From the back a woman’s undershirt can be seen after it gets wet.
Violence: 1½/5 Light Violence and Injuries: After falling off a horse, a man hits his head on a rock. A man accidentally sits on a burner and then bumps his head on a table. A woman burns her hand. A girl is in a fistfight with a boy, and later pushes him. A woman playfully pushes a man over. A boy says a girl “poked [him] in the nose.” There is an example that the talks about getting hurt. A woman talks about the things in books that include violence being “the best shot” and “slaying dragons.” A man shoots at a turkey, but the turkey is not seen until it’s on the table and cooked.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Light Misuse: A woman calls the west “godforsaken,” though Marty says that that isn’t true.
Disturbing Content: 2/5 Emotional and Light Scary Content: A man dies and is wrapped in a cloth. Part of his face, which isn’t at all scary, is seen once. A woman sits in her covered wagon alone, rocking and whispering, “We’re fine.” Over five people are mentioned to have died in the past, one being hinted to have died of a sickness. Characters cry over people that have died. A chopping block has blood, feathers, and a chicken beak on it. A woman gives birth, though the viewers don’t see anything. Viewers can hear her yelling in pain. A barn catches on fire, and a man has burns, though they only very briefly and indistinctly seen. A woman says to wash it to prevent infection. A girl shoots into the sky so that her father won’t get lost. A woman says she won’t leave unless a girl were to “trying to kill” her.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Mention: The traveling pastor of the town is called Reverend.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: There is once a verbal mention that dragons can be in books.
Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: Besides the bath seen, I would say this movie is recommendable. As a whole, the movie has a good Christian feeling in a story that isn’t necessarily about salvation, but about relationships and healing. This is a good movie to watch or to recommend to friends that aren’t Christian but that enjoy movies similar to Anne of Green Gables or Little House of the Prairie.