Gretchen Mol and Chris Klein in The Valley of Light (2007)

Looking for a Plan

Returning home after World War II, Noah (Chris Klein) finds that home has gone as his parents passed away, his brother is in prison and the family farm has been sold. Feeling all alone and with no sense of purpose Noah heads out to go from town to town making a living fishing where he upon he meets the curious Hoke (Robert Prosky) who says he should head over to a valley over the way where there is great fishing. It is there that Noah meets war widow Eleanor (Gretchen Mol) and Matthew (Zach Mills) a mute boy who was abandoned by his father. Whilst Noah and Eleanor become close as both suffer from being alone Noah needs to deal with his inner turmoil to move on and for him a mythical giant catfish represents the troubles he needs to conquer.

On the right day "The Valley of Light", a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, is a sunlit, sentimental drama about two lonely people brought together through the mysteries of life and find they help fill the holes in each others lives. At the same time this is a soft and sensitive look at how war affects people, from a woman whose husband returned physically unharmed but psychologically a mess whilst in Noah's case the world he left when he went to war no longer exists and now he is in need of somewhere to anchor himself.

But on the wrong day "The Valley of Light" comes across as painfully slow to the point of being laborious. It also comes across like it is trying to be like other movies with it feeling visually as if it is trying to be like "A Walk in the Clouds" crossed with a touch of "A River Runs Through It". Unfortunately it often feels like it is trying too hard to be like them, to be more than just a typical Hallmark romantic drama.

What this all boils down to is that "The Valley of Light" is, if you are in the right mood, a sentimental and charming drama which will make you feel good. But if you are not in the right frame of mind it comes across as slow and trying too hard to be better than average.