Every time I settle in for a new When Calls the Heart movie, I’m reminded how much I love everything about them. There’s the way every character either nods, smiles, or rolls their eyes as they speak, faithfully indicating that you’re an extremely tiresome person but they are big enough to put up with you. There’s the fact that all the ladies have too much product on their hair and seem to wear clothes from Kohl’s and Ross, carefully matched to seem satisfyingly old-timey. And there’s the fact that our two protagonists, Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) and Jack (Daniel Lissing), just can’t figure out how people who like each other might behave.
It Begins With the Heart finds Elizabeth and Jack in yet another tentative situation after a childhood sweetheart comes to town to propose to Elizabeth. Though she rejects her suitor and explains everything to Jack, he seems offended by the man’s very existence, as if their friendship is no longer real if someone else likes her. This keeps their relationship in its familiar holding pattern, and Elizabeth decides to win Jack over again by caring for his ailing dog.
Meanwhile, the locals have noticed some strange goings on about town. Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin) realizes her milk delivery has been stolen off the back porch, and Elizabeth sees a small boy running around the schoolhouse. A frightened orphan with a sick sister turns out to be the culprit, but with the town’s love and support, the two are soon on their feet again.
Last but not least, busybody Rosemary (Pascale Hutton) is determined for Hope Valley to be featured in a San Francisco Herald article on small town New Year’s Eve celebrations. In the midst of organizing the festivities, she is surprised when a reporter comes to visit, prompting her to pretend to be married. Cause, you know, that’s better.
As always, this installment of When Calls the Heart offers up a delightful and tedious blend of good old fashioned fun. The show manages to be catty and wholesome at the same time, with more misunderstandings and miscommunications than you can shake a stick at. It’s kind of terrible. It’s pretty fantastic.