Hallmark Hall of Fame films seem to have a special way to “connect” with the viewer. The Valley of Light has this same quality, but this time around it’s done in such a quiet, simple way, which heightens everything.
The Valley of Light (2007) Film Review
World War II is over, but for those who survive, both on the battlefield and those left behind to suffer their great losses alone, it’s now time to start anew. Former soldier Noah Locke (Chris Klein) returns home to find his family home now farmed by others, and his own brother having fallen in with the wrong side of the law. With nothing to do for his seventeen-year-old brother, Noah decides to travel. While on the road he picks up odd jobs, but mostly he fishes. Then Noah meets an old gentleman who directs him to his hometown, Valley of Light. Intrigued, Noah explores the small town, and meets a widow, Eleanor (Gretchen Mol), and a young boy named Matthew (Zach Mills).
What’s interesting about this drama is how it all plays out. Though we don’t know it, everyone’s life is about to change. But it’s how they each handle it that’s most compelling. Watching the premiere on television, this film has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time before I finally watched it again. This time I caught several worthwhile qualities that I don’t in my first viewing. This film is such a “quiet” kind of introspect that even though with its dialogue, it often feels as if it could be a silent film. It’s all in the way filmmakers tell the story. Its introspective capabilities were something altogether different, but I’ve decided it works in this film. We often see the characters (mainly Noah) just “feeling” things. One of Noah’s hobbies is fishing which encourages this though the beauty of nature.
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I am not familiar with most of the cast, but Mills performance is magnificent. His silent hero worship of Noah is the sign of a good actor; and Mol is from The Magnificent Ambersons. Still having this unknown cast doesn’t diminish the production one bit, everyone is superb. Chris Klein pulls off the lead with great ease and each of the characters were so likable you are sad to see the story come to a close. Something about their interpretation is very “real,” an emotion so deep, you feel deeply for their grief. About twenty to thirty minutes prior to the end, there is a sad twist that causes distress in sadly profound ways.
Based on a novel by Terry Kay, it’s surprising how well I like this, considering the other two Hallmarks based on his novels are not among favorites. The wonderful theme of The Valley of Light is the beautiful, simplistic message of faith it presents. Noah spends a great deal of time wandering with hope to find meaning, and just as he begins to, it’s destroyed again. In a subtle way, Noah learns by the conclusion of his journey that there’s no perfect place or person, only the contentment and in that, happiness.
Don’t expect a wonderfully complete ending (as is usual in Hallmark productions), but even still, I do recommend this. If you watch it, it’s worth the time even with the tears that accompany the journey.
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‘The Valley of Light’ – A WWII Drama of Hope. A review of the 2007 period drama from Hallmark Hall of Fame. Chis Klein stars. #Hallmark #TVReview #HallmarkDrama Click To Tweet
Photos: Hallmark / Crown Media Press
With a rating of TV-PG, there isn’t much to be concerned with other than the death of a character. A cow is shot (off-screen), we see her lying on the ground. Suicide is a discussion topic.