This is a wholesome movie for the entire family! It opens with scenic views of farmland, cornfields, shades of orange and various colors of autumn. A young man pulls into Clark’s Mill and Orchard in his truck, and we soon learn that Drew Clark (Trevor Donovan) is there to visit his parents and sister. They share a nice meal at the dinner table, and his dad Barry (Stuart Hughes) offers up a prayer of thanksgiving. The family owns the mill and orchard and are in the process of re-opening it.
Grandpa (Roger Dunn), a widower, shares that, “My heart belongs to Miss Francine (Eve Crawford), she just doesn’t know it yet!” He’s a character and will, fortunately for him, get to spend time with Francine a bit later. But this isn’t the only romance in the movie. Drew, who is temporarily home to be a substitute teacher until he finds a more permanent job, enjoys being back in Chestnut Hollow, but doesn’t see a future there. He hopes he might run into the girl he broke up with some time ago, Rachel, but Drew’s sister Della (Sarah Fisher) informs him that she moved away. Drew admits that hoping to see her again was, “Just wishful thinking, I guess.” However, he is about to meet a young woman that his mother, Susan, has hired to promote the mill and orchard. Her name is Lainie (Jessica Lowndes) and she’s not only pretty but intelligent too. Drew overhears her job interview with his mother, and Lainie suggests re-branding the opening fall season with a new name of “Harvest Homecoming.” She proposes hayrides, a petting zoo, and Drew overhears and doesn’t agree with her ideas. Drew and Lainie initially rub each other the wrong way, but things will soon change.
Drew is determined to help a new student out at school, whose name is Aiden (Luxton Handspiker), and he learns that Lainie is Aiden’s mother. Drew stays with Aiden when Lainie is late to pick him up after school, and Drew apologizes for his awkward introduction to Lainie when she interviewed for the job. She is now working for the mill and orchard, and they will be seeing a lot more of one another. Drew teaches Language Arts and agrees with his best childhood friend, who is now the vice principal, to coach the kids in basketball. Vice principal, Jason (Ryan Allen), begins to work at finding a permanent job somewhere for Drew, which most likely will be in another state.
Drew takes to Aiden and teaches him how to fish. Aiden is soon to have a birthday and will turn twelve, and he’s eager to learn new things, especially from Drew since he doesn’t have a father figure in his life. In a funny scene, Drew talks to Lainie about fishing and teaching Aiden, and he says, “You never know when you’re going to come across a lake that needs a little fishing.” Lainie replies, “I think that’s equivalent to the city girl version of you never know when you’re going to walk past a store that needs shopping!”
It becomes obvious that the handsome Drew and the pretty Lainie are now attracted to one another, and Drew winds up giving his phone number to Aiden to give to Lainie. He had hesitated in doing so, thinking he might be moving soon, but he is unable to resist. And Drew begins to play his guitar and to sing again, for the first time in a long while. There are dramatic moments but other comedic moments too, such as when Lainie is late again to pick up Aiden after school, and she shows Drew a photo on her phone of a cow blocking the road! In another scene, Barry believes his grown-up son, Drew, needs a hug. “Dad, I don’t need a hug!” insists Drew. But his dad hugs him anyway. In another scene, Lainie is invited to dinner, along with Aiden, and Drew gives Aiden a high five. And soon, Drew can’t resist, and he kisses Lainie.
Besides the drama in the movie and the comedy, there is music too. Drew sings “Fields of Gold” and plays his guitar, singing the lyrics, “You want to write your own story, find your way home, through fields of gold.” Drew and Lainie continue to open up to one another, with Lainie sharing she fell in love with Aiden’s dad when she was very young, but then later fell out of love. Lainie shares with her friend Jen her feelings for Drew, and says, “He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s cute, he’s great with Aiden.” And things go well with Grandpa when he moves ahead with Francine and lands a second date! And, in another light moment, Aiden asks for a goat for his birthday, and Lainie replies, “That would be a hard no!” But Aiden is opening up at school, and he’s making friends. However, when Drew is offered a permanent job in California, will all the progress be for naught? Will he accept the job or not?
There are several things to think about regarding this movie. It is wholesome and features a faith in the Lord as well as prayer. When a few characters wonder how things will work out, Barry says, “That’s God’s jurisdiction.” The romance is played lightly, not graphically, with a few kisses between Drew and Lainie. It is funny but also showcases important themes such as making hard decisions, and deciding what is most important in life. It also does a nice job in showing that taking a risk sometimes truly makes a positive difference in a person’s life. So, will Drew accept the job and move to California? Or will there be a reprieve that keeps him in Chestnut Hollow? This film has earned our Dove seal for All Ages. Although it is a wholesome film, it’s not designed for the very young.
THE DOVE TAKE: This wholesome film is one the entire family can watch together, and it showcases the importance of family and loved ones in a person’s life.