In this enchanting story, which is one of a series based on the novel When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke, the pioneer Canadian community of Hope Valley lives up to its name, as it is focused on instilling joy through hope and serving others during this Christmas season. When Elizabeth (Krakow) learns that Mayor Abigail (Loughlin) has chosen to turn the town square Christmas tree into a “wishing tree,” she actively involves her students and those around her to participate. Writing wishes on ornaments, and choosing one to fulfill brings the townspeople together through loving sacrifice and even some miracles.
The characters in this story are dynamic and sincere, and the actors portray them authentically if not from a bit of a mystical standpoint; it is Christmastime, and everyone is seeking to instill and maintain hope to those around them. The costumes and set design have a bit of a modern feel, but only in their spotless and perfectly crafted setting. The story moves along at a quick and playful pace, interweaving various sub-plots that prove to be the very things that uphold the themes of camaraderie, compassion, faith, grace, and love.
For instance, the town doctor gently but persistently seeks out the elderly widow who has isolated herself from everyone, and Mayor Abigail graciously brings back to town a local prisoner considered a traitor to the militia’s cause, but she believes that goodness lies within him and that even he deserves fair and loving treatment at Christmastime. And the school teacher, Elizabeth, seeks out a pregnant couple struggling with the health of their unborn child, and instills hope and faith where there is none. The main characters help others, all while struggling with their own losses and fears.
The Dove Take
This film even addresses the nuances of more difficult and challenging personality types, showing how it serves to focus on the positive aspects of others, for all people are unique and offer special gifts in their own right. Moral messages abound concerning the choice between right and wrong, trusting that God has a plan for individual lives, and asserting that what is lost can be redeemed. This film is a true testament to the power of community to transcend all odds.
Dove awards When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages.