Loves Abiding Joy
PG
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

Erin Cottrell, Logan Bartholomew, Frank McRae, W. Morgan Sheppard, Dale Midkiff. Western drama. Written & directed by Michael Landon, Jr.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Influenced greatly by his dads Little House on the Prairie, writer/director Michael Landon Jr. has visualized this frontier adventure/drama from the fourth installment of Janette Okes bestselling books. It continues the story of a pioneer family overcoming the challenges that face them during the era of the Wild West. With more than 30 million copies of the book in print, the previous three titles (Love Comes Softly, Loves Enduring Promise, Loves Long Journey) ranked as the three highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel and are currently on the Christian Booksellers Association top 10 adult titles charts. This latest effort will be showing in over 75 cities, on 250 screens. (Locations and theater information is available to the public at FoxFaithMovies.com.)

PREVIEW REVIEW: The homesteading Lahaye family has begun to raise a family and carve their nitch on the land, but tragedy strikes when their baby dies of crib death. On top of that, Willie Lahaye has had to take a job as town sheriff in order to make ends meet. But the job becomes demanding when its discovered that the crooked land baron who appointed Lahaye sheriff is using him to evict his struggling neighbors. The familys faith in God is tested and refined.

It has a made-for-TV feel, with a Harlequin-ish title, salon haircuts on the menfolk, and the anachronistic dialogue that includes the modern times colloquialism Have a nice day. (I swear, I thought the school marm was going to draw a Happy Face on the blackboard.) But these are minor peeves. It has a strong storyline, sincere performances, relatable themes dealing with doubts, fears and shaken faith, and an unabashed reverence for Christian sensibilities (several prayers and discussions about God and faith are smoothly incorporated). It has the essence of Shane, had Shane been written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

But here is the most significant element to this production. Fox Faith Movies, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox, has taken notice of the fact that there are Christian moviegoers looking for inoffensive entertainment. Movies that dont abuse their senses; movies that reflect their religious beliefs. Loves Abiding Joy is just the beginning. The company has plans for several movies, films that represent other genres and appeal to those who keep saying How come they dont make movies like they used to? It should be interesting to see where Fox Faith will be in another ten years. Will the company be a mere memory, or will it have flourished? I guess that depends on box office results. You might keep that in mind whenever you see that name Fox Faith associated with a new release.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Fox Faith Movies

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: A baby is found dead in her cradle. We do not see the dead child, but there is some grieving on the part of the parents that may disturb very little ones. Adults who have experienced the loss of a child or close loved one may find this subject unnerving at first, but they may be touched and supported by how the films family copes. A teen is roughed up a bit after he is framed for horse stealing.
Sexual Intercourse: None just love.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Theres a very moving sequence that displays a generous sacrifice. That said, beware that it contains the death of a child. Though the filmmakers handle this with sensitivity, it may disturb very little ones.
Running Time: 86 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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