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  • jotix10025 April 2008
    Another Hallmark movie made for television which has all the elements that are always included in their presentations. Like basically everything we see coming from the Hallmark folks, we are taken to scenic spots of our country, in this case rural Oregon, with its natural beauty and excellent outdoor quality that translates so well into the stories at hand.

    "The Valley of Light" takes the viewer back to the 1940s at the end of WWII. Noah, a soldier without work, is surprised to find his younger brother in jail. He decides to escape from it all, perhaps because what he experienced overseas in Europe, to a more peaceful setting. He finds he has an knack for fishing in rivers and streams where he seems to pull catfish in record numbers. One day he meets Hoke, an older man, who tells him about his ability to see "angels" and who advises him to go into the Valley of Light where nice folks live.

    At the valley, he finds an ideal place in where to spend time. He endears himself to the local population where he is regarded as something of a marvel because, when prompted, he can fish better than anyone. Noah seems to know where to cast his line with good results. He meets the lovely widow of a soldier that has committed suicide. Noah seems to have everything he hoped for, yet, tragedy strikes taking a young boy who he feels responsible for his untimely death.

    As directed by Brent Shields, this film fits perfectly in what is expected from the sponsor. Was it me, or didn't Chris Klein, who plays Noah, kept reminding us of Keanu Reeves? Mr. Klein doesn't show the intensity that perhaps Mr. Reeves would have brought to his role, but he is adequate. Lovely Gretchen Mol is perfectly sweet as Eleanor, the young widow who awakens to love after being so lonely. Others in the cast include the excellent Robert Prosky, Jay O. Sanders, Stephen Tobolowsky, in a small pivotal role, Zach Mills and Kevin Chamberlin.

    This is a film that while not breaking any ground, will delight the audience for which is targeted.
  • A very sentimental and heartfelt story with a refreshingly optimistic outlook about people reaching out to one another. A decorated WWII vet named Noah returns home to find the world has moved on during his absence. His parents have died, his brother is in prison, his family's farm has been sold.

    Noah sets out to rebuild his life, not really knowing where he's bound, and encounters a mysterious and gifted old man who directs him to a nearby town. Upon arriving there, Noah is immediately embraced by the locals who at once recognize him to be of high character. He meets a mute boy named Matthew he befriends, and an elegant widow named Eleanor. Noah's talent for fishing quickly makes him a local legend, and his kindness to others wins the hearts of everyone he meets. The beauty of this story is the interaction of all of the characters. There really are no "bad guys," everyone has their place in bringing joy into the life of some other person(s). It's very touching, and the dialogue is rich with spiritual symbolism.

    The entire cast breathe life into all these pleasant, likable characters. It's overall a "feel good" story (although there is one tragedy the characters face together), with a very positive approach.
  • gjbarr28 January 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Good old-fashioned romance with a post-WWII setting. Like those "good 'ol days" when much of what is said is in the facial expressions and body movements, not the dialog. In those days, dignity and well manners ruled in rural America, so you did not see the kind of emotional violence, 4-letter words, and action common to some of today's movies, and that's OK! Romance ruled here...not the shallow passion you sometimes see today. Good job by Chris Klein (playing Noah) as the WWII vet with post-war anguish. You could see that in his face, but he brightened up well with his interaction with Matthew (played by Zach Mills). Gretchen Mol also did a good job as Eleanor. Perhaps her best scene was the scene when Noah was leaving. Zach Mills as the young boy was very good, even without one word of dialog. I guessed on my own that Hoke was an angel, and it fit in very well. I enjoyed the good old-fashioned bantering and teasing among the characters, and the fact there was no violence. Hallmark was the sponsor, and is the only sponsor I see on TV where I usually cannot miss the heart-warming commercials.
  • Noah Locke has served in Europe during World War II, earning a Purple Heart. Still, he comes home to find that the farm he lived on belongs to someone else, and his brother Travis is in prison (though he says all he did was drive the car). Travis was told he could go to his mother's funeral but he couldn't do go through with that if he had to be chained, feeling it would bring shame to his family. The brothers have also lost their father.

    As he explains later, Noah travels from place to place across the South, camping out and fishing in various rivers. While fishing, he meets an old man named Hoke with a special gift, who tells him about this wonderful community in a nearby valley, where there is a legendary fish no one can catch.

    Noah follows Hoke's advice. Taylor runs the store in the town, and it is there that Noah befriends Matthew, who never speaks. Matthew's mother is deceased and his father may be working somewhere in Tennessee. His grandparents Howard and Ada, who invite Noah to their church, are raising Matthew.

    Also at Taylor's store, Noah meets Eleanor, who gives Noah some work to do and a place to live. Eleanor's late husband fought in the war, and now she is trying to run a farm on her own while taking care of her elderly grandmother Beatrice, known as Granny.

    Noah makes a living partly from fishing, and Taylor also gets him to do work at his store Moody and Peavo won't. Moody and Peavo are lazy and just want to talk and otherwise have fun. They are the movie's primary comic relief.

    Noah has a positive influence on this community, particularly on Matthew and Eleanor. The big question: will he win the big fishing contest, which attracts many outsiders? Will Noah catch that fish no one else can? And will Noah and Eleanor become a couple?

    There's not really anything here for parents to be concerned about. Noah has memories of the war, but these are not a big problem. The reality of the war has caused some sadness, though. And there is a tragedy by movie's end which could be upsetting to children, though it brings out the best in several of the actors. But strong family values are presented here. Noah always says, "Yes, sir" and "Yes, ma'am", for example. And he believes in hard work, as do most of the people in town. I've mentioned the exceptions.

    The acting is very good here. Zach Mills is particularly impressive because he can give a great performance without saying a word, and he makes us care about Matthew.

    It was worthy of the name Hallmark Hall of Fame.
  • SpudV29 January 2007
    "The Valley of Light" is a drama with a little bit of romance. I echo the other comments about the refreshing lack of foul language and violence that passes for entertainment nowadays. It's also great to see courtesy, good manners and integrity given prominence.

    The drama centers on a man (Noah) troubled by his service in the military (post WWII). Without family to fall back on, he goes on his own "odyssey", following whatever river he happens to find himself on and fishing for food. One river takes him to an encounter with an old man who has some encouraging and enlightening words for him, as well as a possible path.

    In the next town over the ridge, he finds some answers to what he needs in life, befriending a mute boy in need of a father and a widow woman in need of love. When a crisis hits, Noah has to decide whether to cut and run or work with the relationships he has built to that point.

    Nearly all of us define our lives by the relationships we hold dear, and the movie does an excellent job in showing how Noah developed his relationships with the mute boy, the widow, and the rest of the townspeople. I found myself (a techie guy who works on computers all day) while watching the movie longing to go to that time of no gadgets or TV. Beautifully filmed, good acting and story come together for an enjoyable movie.
  • whpratt129 January 2007
    This film was very refreshing to watch and enjoy because of the very down to earth story of a small town after WW II and the deep effects war has on people and how it can ruin people mentally and physically. Chris Klein,(Noah), "The Long Weekend", plays the role of a soldier wandering around and just plain getting out in nature and sleeping under the stars and mostly fishing. Noah meets up with an old gentleman who tells him how to fish like a professional and also directs him on the right path for him to take into a wonderful valley where there is a nice small town and good fishing in a lake. Noah meets up with all the local town people and also with Gretchen Mol (Eleanor) "Attracton" who gives a great performance as a woman who is deeply troubled and living with a grandmother who only wants to eat Hersey Bars. Sweet lovable story back when they had rumble seats in the back of cars. Enjoy
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This little gem (scheduled to be out on DVD February 15 at select Hallmark Stores)will make a great addition to any DVD collection. Just the basics here: WWII vet Noah Locke (Chris Klein) returns home to find a world of change on the home front, ala "The Best Years of Our Lives", and he must take his life in a new direction. A kind old gent Hoke Moore (Robert Prosky) directs him to the valley where a change of his life's direction is offered.

    Great job by Gretchen Mol as the leading lady Eleanor Chatwin. Mol's character undergoes changes of her own after meeting Noah. She is a widow of a WWII vet who ended his life upon returning home from the war and her life is a closed loop. Between caring for her late husband's grandmother(who seems to survive on chocolate bars) and running the farm, she appears to have little else in her life. Just compare the change in her physical appearance from their initial meeting in a general store to the the scene of a good old' sit down catfish dinner in her home....Southern Style!

    A terrific supporting cast rounds out this Hallmark Hall of Fame gem. The filming locations in Oregon and California fill in nicely for rural, post WWII North Carolina.

    Tragedy strikes both their lives and threatens to end the blossoming romance between Noah and Eleanor. Noah soon realizes that he was guided to the valley. Several media critics panned this flick, but it came in at #10 for the week in the ratings, tied with "24", so see it for yourself and make your own decision.
  • It was so refreshing to see a movie with a good script, good acting and that contains values that seem to have disappeared in light of all the smut and garbage that have invaded prime time television. I would love to see more movies like this one. I thought it was excellent in every category. The scenery was beautiful, it took place just after World War 2 had ended and troops were returning home, and it gave me a real sense of nostalgia although the War took place years before my birth. The acting was great and the people of the valley were warm and inviting, again a characteristic gone with yesteryear. This movie reached out and embraced me, much like Andy Griffith and Mayberry used to when I was a little girl.
  • Noah (Chris Klein) has returned home from WWII, only to find that his parents are deceased, his younger brother is in prison, and his parents' farmland has gone to another family. Sad. A fisherman, Noah meets a man (Robert Prosky) near a river, who recommends a small town in North Carolina for a new home. Taking this advice, Noah shows up and, indeed, the town is very nice. Initially somewhat skeptical of the stranger, the townfolk soon welcome Noah. This includes an adopted mute boy named Frankie (Zach Mills), who wishes to follow Noah around, at times. Fortunately, a war widow named Eleanor (Gretchen Mol) has an empty cabin on the lands of her property and Noah moves in. Soon, it becomes clear that Eleanor may be over her grief and interested in Noah, ditto for him. Will a new love form? Possibly. Also, some of the town's residents make a bet with Noah about the amount of catfish he might catch and the young veteran takes them on. Then, tragedy strikes and Noah may move out of the area, leaving Eleanor behind. Will it happen? This is a quietly lovely romantic drama with a very beautiful setting in North Carolina. All of the actors, including Klein and Mol, do very fine work. Care has been taken by the film makers to re-create another time, so that costumes, buildings, automobiles and such bring back the late 1940's with appeal. Romance fans will also be pleased. However, if you are not in the mood for some heartache, save this for another time, for some tears may swell and drop for most every viewer.
  • I loved the way this movie was done. I know many won't like it because it dares to leave out sex, violence, profanity, etc., and just tell a simple tale that makes you feel good. For those people there are nearly an infinite number of choices to see. For the rest of us, this is a rare movie that feels like something from a time before I was born- and it left me feeling happy, and not many of today's movies do that for me.

    Also, as most of my closest friends and my oldest nephew live and breath fishing, I'm thinking they'd enjoy it as that is always in the background.

    If you watch this, don't go in expecting something convoluted and complex, but rather a very pleasant distraction from all the unpleasantness we usually see in the movies.
  • The cinematography in this movie gives the soul the space and wings to soar! The rivers and lakes are swarming with schools of fish, skirted by beautifully dense woods filled with chirping crickets. The lush green pastures with rich black earth are ripe with enormous wiggling worms - great pickin' for fish-bait.

    The characters and the plot are heartwarming - yet heartbreaking.

    A handsome WWII soldier wandering the countryside trying to outpace the grief that dogs his every step since returning stateside.

    A pretty widow with a warm heart who takes loving care of her deceased husbands' brain-addled aged grandmother.

    A lonely young mute boy, makes one wonder if it is perhaps from his young mother's death or his runaway fathers abandonment of him.

    The town and it's cast of characters are quite charming - they make one long to move to this little friendly town in the valley of yesteryear.

    Throw in a mess of fishin' to boot and this is a MARS & VENUS Movie. The finale of this movie gives ones' soul hope and that's no tall tale. Don't let this movie be - "The One That Got Away"!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just a warning to any men reading this. This is definitely a chick flick. But it's so good you will enjoy watching it, too. You just won't be able to admit to anybody that you did. (Unless you are as secure in your masculinity as I am of course. Ahem...Then you can even admit it had you in tears in parts, but you'll still feel guilty at that, too.) Noah is a Soldier on a mission...Running from his past. His family is gone except for one loser little brother who's just barely out of his teens and on the way to a life of crime already. And Noah blames himself for not being there for the family, for his brother, and for his unit where many of his friends were killed, leaving him with survivor guilt. On the run he's told about a special place to go fishing, something he has an affinity for. And taking the stranger's advice he finds himself involved in the lives of the small town folks and especially a beautiful young widow and her mute son. All of them looking for some kind of sign that life is still worth living.

    The plot is predictable in some parts but unpredictable in others so there is enough play in the line (to use a fishing metaphor) to make it interesting. As I say, everyone will enjoy it. Though there is one very traumatic scene that may not be appropriate for small children. Not violent or anything, just very sad (and adults watching it may become upset which may upset any children in the room).

    Having said that, enjoy. With popcorn and Kleenex.

    A surprise ending (at least for me) which only emphasized that, although this movie has some bad theology, the overall positive note is a sound one. And the best part is, the reality is even better than the fiction. In a world of uncertainty there are signs all around us that GOD really does care and life really is worthwhile, if we will only look and listen and act upon the situations and people He sends our way and most of all His Word (the Bible)...though this is not a "preachy" film or Bible-thumping movie at all and in fact stays rather generic. It is a great movie that may take you unawares.
  • I really enjoyed The Valley Of Light, a beautiful slow paced film, capturing the time and setting beautifully. The ending was beautiful, very heartwarming.
  • jewelch16 March 2021
    1946. A time very few of us can relate to. A time when simple things and simple relationships gave life a unique texture. A great movie to put our own lives and our own relationships into perspective. Watch the movie, perhaps it will help you to better understand what is really important in life. James Welch Henderson, Arkansas 3/16/2021
  • At the beginning of the movie, the music makes me full of energy.When Noah gets off the bus, he feels he was born again because of being a part of war.I am sure anybody who has watched this film would wish war should never happen in a country because nobody's soul and body can be saved.When Noah was recalling memories of war and felt sad about it, it was hard for me to watch this part of film because it made me too fearful. I appreciate Eleanor(Mol) and the town people who accepted and welcome Noah with open arms and invited him to their activities and homes. I could not imagine how people were so kind and sensible there before watching this movie. Noah was feeling too responsible for his brother and wanting to get him some leniency from the law. It was very important for Noah to know something about his parents from Mr.Hood.I think the director chose the right actor and actress for the job since they played their roles naturally and attractively . I hope more movies like this would be made in future for all ages because they can be suitable for teenagers as positive entertainment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Be prepared to bring a box of tissues to this heartbreaking film.

    A soldier returns home from World War 11 to his North Carolina home. His 17 year old brother is in prison for a crime which is not described. When our soldier, played by Chris Klein, named Noah, asks for leniency, he is denied this. On top of all this, his parents have died during the war years. The farm was sold off so Noah has to become a wanderer.

    He goes to a small town and meets an angel who directed him to go there. He hears the tale of a big fish in a lake. There he meets a young child who lives with his grandparents. The boy's mother is dead and the father is not there. Noah develops a strong bond with the boy who doesn't talk. Noah lives in a shed provided by widow Gretchen Mol, whose husband came home from the war and promptly put a bullet in his head. She lives with his grandmother who has a fetish for chocolate.

    The widow gets Noah a shed and shows him the chair where the owner of the latter died.

    If this isn't enough, tragedy ensues when the silent child pursues the fish. The town mourns by singing a hymn that was sung in the 1953 film version of "Titanic" with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb. Yes, Noah will leave but will find himself back in the town.

    The story needed to have much more of a character development. This is sadly lacking here. The viewer must have come away very depressed as I did.

    The film is a heartbreak. Is Noah doing the same search that Tyrone Power was looking for the meaning of life in 1946's "The Razor's Edge."

    Life, as we know it, can be very depressing. We don't need to be reminded of it by this production.

    1945 was never depicted more bleak than this. Maybe, they woke up 3 years later when Dewey was upset by Truman.
  • Loved the story, one thing that always bothers me is , these folks were from the South, all had southern accents ,, Noah especially had southern manners,, a fine young man,, however in reading where this was filmed bothers me,, California, why not in the South,? I am from Georgia and I think Producers and Directors of any film should do the filming where the actors are portrayed..
  • After watching this movie, one can understand why it's in the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Noah (Chris Klein) returns home after seeing combat in WWII. He finds out that his home has been sold, his parents had died and his younger brother, Travis has been jailed for robbery. Initially, it appears that Noah who has a passion and uncanny ability to catch fish was looking for a place where he can belong. During his journey, he befriends a boy named Matthew (Zach Mills) whose mother had died and abandoned by his father. Matthew who is mute is being raised by his grandparents, Howard (Jay O. Sanders) and Ada (Betty Moyer). Noah also meets Eleanor, a widow whose husband had also fought in the war. What appears to be a chance meeting is really a divine appointment. Eleanor is a lonely widow looking for love but trusting that God would guide her to the right man. Matthew is a boy who longs to have a father figure in his life! After a while, one wonders is Noah looking for a place to belong or is he running away from grief? The pain that he couldn't save his army buddies! These words by Eleanor could sum up the movie; "I don't why this world has to shatter in pieces?"... "All of us we're hoping for a sign aren't we? A sign that we have a purpose. That we're being guided towards it." These words of Noah could describe his deep love for Eleanor: "If I trusted even for a moment in those signs you believe in.... I would've try to be one for you."
  • The movie was fun to make! I was Matthew's stand in. I grew up around the area where the lake scenes were filmed, and when Noah gets off the bus in the beginning. It was very exciting to be a part of something like this, and awesome to meet Chris Klein,Zach Mills, and Jay O. Sanders. Everyone treated each other with kindness, even the stars were kind! And I'm definitely proud to say that I got to work closely with them for a month. I enjoy being able to point out Zach Mills whenever he appears on TV and say that I know him. Very Exciting! I wish I could continue doing stand-in work on a perm basis, but its a very tough business to break into. BTW - HEY KERRY!!! How are you and Zach doing???

  • Warning: Spoilers
    OK, the plot: a soldier returns from WW2 with bad dreams and finds that the home he's grown up in has been sold and his kid brother is in jail for a youthful prank apparently. He wonders around, by bus I guess and fishes most of the rivers, large and small, of the Southeast. On one of these rivers, he meets an old man who recommends he hike over the ridge where he'll meet some nice people. He does and they are. A pretty widow, (Gretchen Mol) allows him to stay in a fishing cabin her husband frequented before he committed suicide. None of the characters are at all well developed; I guess I have to blame the script.

    I gave it a five only because I was able to sit through it. I've liked Gretchen Mol in other movies so it's no surprise she was appealing in this one. I question whether a woman in 1946-7(?) would be so forthright about approaching a man who interested her. And there was no need to kill off a perfectly cute kid just for cheap sentiment, before we even get a chance to hear what he has to SAY.