For some people owning a ranch would be a dream, but when college student Lizzie (Taylor Lyons) inherits her grandmother’s horse ranch, overwhelming reality stokes her lack of self confidence. If it weren’t for her boyfriend James’ (Allen Williamson) encouragement, she’d probably not attempt to tackle the immense amount of work required to run a ranch. But Lizzie soon realizes her rekindled love for the ranch and dressage overrides other career possibilities. With both doubt and hope she embarks on a mission to train for three high-stakes riding competitions. She soon discovers she could use a little help, which is where Linda (Dyan Cannon), multi-time riding champion comes in. Seeing a familiar fire in Lizzie’s eyes, Linda commits to coaching her.
Always questioning herself and her abilities, Lizzie needs frequent pep talks from James and Linda. Linda assures Lizzie her horse skills are excellent, that she can believe in herself; James strongly reminds her that he is there to help. (He doesn’t seem to have a job of his own.) And after creating a romantically special dinner, he proposes to Lizzie. This happy moment is met with skepticism by parents on both sides, eyeing the notion the two are too young to take on such a responsibility. But they hold their own, and Lizzie finds her compromised confidence bombarded yet again by the task of making dozens of wedding decisions. Life is tough. Adding to her stress, a petty, snarky competitor, Bethany (Abigail Reed) condescendingly taunts Lizzie. Discovering that Bethany is James’ ex-girlfriend doesn’t help. Then finding out her mentor, Linda, was accused of drugging horses sends Lizzie into a tizzy. Eventually, Lizzie finds the truth about both James and Linda, and is finally able to hurdle her inner obstacles and focus on the third and very important competition.
To be sure, Hope’s Legacy is lovely, weaving the peaceful, green country landscapes with the powerful beauty of the well-trained horse, ushering us into a gorgeous world of horseback riding and jumping. But this is secondary to the theme and we don’t really come to know Legacy, Lizzie’s horse. Many scenes are beautiful, but conversational scenes get to be long and superfluous. Dyan Cannon does an exquisite job authenticating realism in her work. Overall, the acting is sufficient and at times Allen Williamson delivers persuading emotional performances. (And not just because he doesn’t have a job.) All considered, Hope’s Legacy is a safe, pretty film promoting faith values. In both the funeral and wedding scenes scripture is read.
Even though it may not be of interest to younger children, Dove awards Hope’s Legacy the All Ages Seal of Approval.
The Dove Take:
Although Hope’s Legacy borrows the title from the horse in the film, the story revolves around a young woman overcoming daunting obstacles, especially her own lack of confidence.