A West-Rom Through and Through
"Love Begins" is what I call a west-rom, a romantic movie which just happens to be set in the old west. It gives us cowboys, some trouble, an old town and a sheriff but the real focus is on the romance between two good looking young people. And all of the romance is full of sickly sweet scenes and a constant romantic soundtrack to emphasise that the focus is, yes you guessed it, on the romance. To put it simply "Love Begins" is a TV movie romance and if you are not in the mood for a lot of softness and overly sweet romantic nonsense you will end up hating it.
Having arrived in the town of Trinity, Missouri it doesn't take long for Clark (Wes Brown) and his friend Daniel (David Tom) to get into trouble and thrown in jail for fighting in Millie's (Nancy McKeon) cafe. Whilst Daniel manages to escape and goes on the run Clark stays and offers to pay for the damages by working it off which Sheriff Holden (Jere Burns) agrees to and takes him to the ranch of sisters Ellen (Julie Mond) and Cassie (Abigail Mavity) who are in desperate need of a man to help out keep on top of things. Whilst Ellen is not too happy having Clark working on her property she soon warms to him as she realises that he is in fact a decent guy, but can she bring herself to tell him how she feels and will Clark head off once he has repaid his debt?
Now for about a minute "Love Begins" feels like a western, the opening which sees Clark and his friend Daniel being pursued on horse back across country has the right look. Unfortunately that sense of being a western soon disappears as the softness appears as having evaded capture they head to town and end up being thrown in jail after one of the softest western brawls you will encounter. All this basically builds up to Daniel escaping jail for a life of crime where as Clark wants to stay and make amends by working off what he owes for damaging Millie's cafe.
Now as I said "Love Begins" is first and foremost a romance or at least that's how it comes across as it is an adaptation of a Janette Oke novel who is known for her inspirational fiction. And so when Clark is put to work helping sisters Ellen and Cassie on their small homestead it doesn't take a genius to know that whilst Ellen is initially wary she will fall for him and he for her. And you know that with Ellen's previous beau Jake Weller having cleared off in the search of gold 2 years earlier certain things will happen to possibly spoil things. Put simply "Love Begins" is the simplest romantic cliche going and whilst it tries to throw up twists such as Clark's long held dream of adventure and Clark's lack of faith it really doesn't take a genius to guess what will happen.
What is for certain is that whilst "Love Begins" works with the simplest of romantic cliches it sets out to do it in one of the most sickly sweet ways going, the sort of corny sweetness which almost makes you laugh. From West Brown looking all handsome as he works on the land to Ellen acting all cutesy around him and her little sister Cassie trying to matchmaker the word subtle is nowhere to be found. And what's worse is that with Clark and Ellen pussy footing around each other with neither willing to risk admitting their feelings to each other it becomes a bit of a joke. Basically if you are not in the mood for some sweet romance then don't watch "Love Begins".
And to be honest when it comes to the cast it feels like they've all been picked for their looks. Both Wes Brown and Julie Mond are attractive as Clark and Ellen, whilst Nancy McKeon who plays Millie has that slightly older attractiveness going on. Heck even Jere Burns who plays Sheriff Holden is better looking than your average old wild west Sheriff and most certainly dresses better.
What this all boils down to is that "Love Begins" is 100% a west-rom, a romance which is set in the old wild west. It is corny, it is overly sweet but if you are in the moody for some sweet romance then it has an innocent charm about it.