Saturday, 19 September 2015

No.240 : When Calls the Heart

When Calls the Heart at the IMDb

 You might think that it is hard to still come up with quality entries for the ‘W’ movie Blog after a torturous trail of 239 and counting but don’t believe it - it’s been a slog since we hit double figures! That is not to say that today’s film was scraping the barrel somewhat, more like scraped through the barrel and burrowed down 10 miles through to the Earth’s core!

‘When Calls the Heart’ is a Hallmark film so you can guarantee from the off there will be no sex or violence. Let’s watch it anyway! The annoying daughter who can’t act off the ‘Taken’ films stars in this as an annoying daughter who can’t act - the girl’s got range!

The film is set in olden days America where not an inch of flesh is shown and all the people of colour are on the staff. They try for  high end look but it’s more ‘Downton Shabby’ than ‘Abbey’. Everyone affects a high pitch posh voice which is annoying, as it is fake. Our heroine, Elizabeth, is a newly qualified teacher and looking onward to getting her first job. Her parents are keen for her to go to a prestigious college with Cherie Lunghi doing her best upper class twit bit as Mom.

Elizabeth is offered a top job but the sleazy recruiting agent, Mr Higgins, implies that he expects some favours for granting the post. Dirty bastard, although given the credentials of the film he’s probably just after some laundry being done. Elizabeth is distraught when her refusal to put out leads her to be offered a post in the Wild West. She is torn at first but soon finds her Aunt’s diary which details her own career as a Wild West school teacher.

The remainder of the film jumps back and forth with the diary extracts acted out by ‘Taken’ daughter wearing a blonde wig while her present day travails have her in a black wig; like I say the girl has range! The film plods on as blonde Elizabeth tries to teach the kids and weakly fend off the advances of Stephen ‘Arrow' Amell, while black hair Elizabeth endures the hazardous journey west with her Mountie protector. Things get near to a conclusion on both fronts when it’s revealed the movie is a precursor to a TV series where all the plot threads will go to die - well I’m not watching that so I’ll just assume they all die of the plague!

You can’t really find fault with a film like this as it was clear from the off what sort of gentle peril we will encounter. Things were perhaps best illustrated when black haired Elizabeth’s stagecoach gets held up by the most polite and respectful road agents you could imagine. None of them said ‘motherfucker’ and they didn’t even try to touch the hem of her ankle length dress - ‘Deadwood’ this was not.

You could see some old ladies lapping this up with barely registering scares such as a wolf ‘attack’ followed by a three mouse home invasion. On the romance front it was hard to pick between the past and present candidates both of whom were more wooden than the old homestead.

Knowing now that it was destined to be a serial it was apparent that little mysteries were being seeded throughout such as the fate of the Aunt and why her diary was hidden in the safe. I’m thinking illegal abortions but given the films trajectory it’s more likely she missed ten minutes of church.

The acting was uniformly dreadful with the fish out of water elements, when our girl had to rough it, the worst - putting mashed potato on your face and telling tales of bed wetting are hardly the stuff of legend.

You may see worse gentle and harmless fayre but I doubt it!

‘W’ Rating 5/23
Best Bit : “I piss the bed too”

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