When Christian films fall into the hands of the right filmmakers, they have a subtle insight that can be incredibly moving. When they aren’t, it makes for a production that is disappointing and usually, awkward.
Heart of the Country (2013) Film Review
Like any small-town girl, Faith (Jana Kramer) leaves her southern roots behind to pursue a career in the spotlight. An aspiring musician, she heads to New York and plays small shows. Instead of following her dreams, she falls in love. Luke Carraday (Randy Wayne) is from a prominent, wealthy family, and marrying Luke means Faith is instead in the tabloids as Luke’s bride. Settling into life as a socialite, Faith’s world turns upside down when her husband is accused of insider trading at the investment firm where he works.‘HEART OF THE COUNTRY’ (2013) #FWarchives Click To Tweet
Arrested and imprisoned for his alleged part in the scam, Faith is leaves without resources which forces her back to a place she hasn’t gone to in too long, home.
This movie surprises me. Going in, there’s no real expectations for it which means that as a viewer, I wasn’t sure what it’d be like. The story isn’t anything “new” (small-town girl sheds her past) however I like how it unfolds. Director and screenwriter John Ward takes a few risks and deals with some things I don’t expect.
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Knowing her work only as a musician, I didn’t know what it’d be like to see Jana in a leading role. She holds her own. Faith is a good leading character even though her character has the misfortunate of falling into cliché reactions. Anyone who watches “Christian” films may also recognize Randy Wayne (To Save a Life) or Shaun Sipos, and Gerald McRaney plays Faith’s father. The cast is surprisingly good.
As a “prodigal comes home” story, this (mostly) works. There’s some stereotype storytelling to be honest. How Ward tells the story becomes a strength. Starting things in the aftermath of Luke’s scandal and then it backpedals to reveal the “why.” Showing the story from this perspective offers a more emotional. The quality of filmmaking is quite good also. Taking place in the southern country side adds some pretty scenery, too. To add some romance, there’s a few charming flashback scenes in the city; these scenes between Faith and Luke are precious. The film teaches some good lessons on the importance and work in a marriage, too.
The story is slow-moving at times and some of the subplots seem unimportant (like the sister relationship), however at its heart, the movie is full good things like redemption. There is also a time for tears, yet what most surprises me is that even when things look bleak, the characters try; their actions may not have always be “right,” but they strive to make the better choice. I’m not sure I’d brand this a favorite drama, however for anyone who enjoys Hallmark films, it’s a sweet movie.
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You can find Heart of the Country digitally on Amazon Video
Content: one character dies. A husband and wife accuse each other of lying and briefly a man is accused of cheating on his wife. The film is PG.