Loughlin and Messner Have a Heart to Heart
Following his parents divorce young Jared's (Charles Henry Wyson) life is turned upside down when they move half way across the country to live with his Gran Louise (Stefanie Powers) whilst his mum Dana (Lori Loughlin) starts a new job. Struggling with a new school Jared finds himself making a friend in Sgt. Vince Carerra (Johnny Messner) who he writes to in Bosnia as part of a school project. Touched by the letter from young Jared not only does Vince write back but when he returns home to Fort Sebastian decides to pay him a visit and help him with baseball. And unexpectedly he also finds himself dating Dana although both agree that when he gets his next posting they will call it a day. If only love was that easy.
Taken on face value "Soldier's Love Story" is a simple romance drama between a single mum and a divorced soldier who having been cheated on whilst serving abroad has no plans of going through the heartbreak and risk of falling in love again. You know how this will end up especially when this is a TV movie made to make you feel good but it is a pleasant story. It is pleasant because it is wholesome; the whole Jared writing to Sergeant Vince and then he not only writing back but paying him a visit is sweet. And whilst it is obvious from the less than subtle meet cute between Vince and Dana that they have immediate chemistry the way their relationship plays out is just as sweet.
But whilst pleasant "Soldier's Love Story" is a movie which is less than subtle, in fact at times it is so unsubtle and forced that you find yourself trying to contain the laughter. Now I know this is a movie with its heart in the right place but every time Dana's mum reiterates that God has a plan for us that may not be what we plan it feels over emphasized. And over emphasized is a common theme with Vince being a real "yes Mam" sort of guy who hasn't got a nasty bone in his body as he is so understanding. As I said "Soldier's Love Story" does lack subtlety and at times it borders on being too much.
But then "Soldier's Love Story" is a movie which is not only meant to be wholesome and charming but also one which delivers a message. In fact that should be several messages built around the theme that God has a plan for us which may not be what we are planning. As such we get things such as living each day as it comes, making the most of life as we only have one and a few more little messages. But it also gets across the element that couples need to talk and not presume what the other person thinks and wants. And whilst none of this is subtle it does make you think especially if you believe that there is a God and he has a plan for each and everyone of us.
As such "Soldier's Love Story" does leave you feeling conflicted because whilst its heart is in the right place the lack of subtlety makes it corny in paces. The good news is that whilst the various characters all border on being too nice it is well cast. Johnny Messner delivers the decency of Vince quite well and Lori Loughlin delivers the concern of a single mum even if it is a bit of a cliche. But more importantly there is chemistry between them, when they stare at each other you believe there is something there and that makes you warm to them as a couple. Throw in nice performances from Charles Henry Wyson as young Jared and Stephanie Powers as Dana's mum and whilst the characters are slightly wrong the performances entertain.
What this all boils down to is that if you want some wholesome romantic drama with a positive message then "Soldier's Love Story" will be perfect, it is one of the most pleasant romantic dramas I have watched. But if you want believability and subtlety to go with it then you are going to be left wanting and possibly left laughing as well because everything is a bit too nice and wholesome.