I found The Valley of Light on the Plex channel. I was drawn in immediately and then realized I was missing some of the content because the audio was so laid back, I wasn’t hearing thoughts and conversation. I found it on Hallmark Hall of Fame channel, but again it had no captions. I also found in on Paramount via Prime offering Free Trial, rent, or buy. In addition three versions showed up on Youtube, some with small images and backward captions. So, you might want to go fishing . . . so to speak. It’s worth the effort. I’m not religious and enjoyed the film. If you are religious, then you will probably enjoy it even more than me.
Chris Klein plays the part of Noah. He was perfect in the roll . . . low key and calm. He was discovered in Nebraska while still in high school. I think I saw him first in We Were Soldiers (2002) with Mel Gibson. He co-starred in the 2014 comedy Authors Anonymous with Kaley Cuoco from Big Bang Theory.
Returning from World War II, Noah Locke discovers his family is gone. With a passion for fishing, Noah travels to a new town in search of a legendary great bass that has yet to be caught. On his journey he learns that with great friendship and great faith he will always be happy.
The film is peppered with familiar actors. Robert Prosky plays the part of Hoke, who meets Noah while he’s fishing for trout. Noah invites him to join him for lunch. They talk about fishing and Hoke suggests that just over the hill is a lake where bass is plentiful and states that when he dies he wants to be buried with a bass in the casket.
Noah follows the advice of Hoke. He visits the town over the hill and ears perk up when fishing in mentioned. He meets Howard who invites him to dinner if he can bring the fish. Howard, played by Jay O. Sanders triggered my memory. He had the role of John Goodman’s biker buddy “Ziggy” in Roseanne (1988).
Official Trailer –
Lovely story, lovely setting, but tears may swell and drop for viewers
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.
North Carolina is a lovely spot to visit or live or so I’m told, but the location shots were actually done in Oregon and California . . . and they are beautiful.
The prowess of Noah’s fishing is challenged in a bet that Noah and the young mute Frankie, played by Zach Mills, take down to the wire of catching a dozen fish by sundown. Frankie and Noah have become a team.
The yearly bass fishing contest has all the joy sucked out of the event. The yearly winner rides the same bus out of town that Noah is on. The usual winner is Littleberry Davis, played by Stephen Tobolowsky. The first time I saw Tobolowsky was when he played the insurance agent in Ground Hog Day, one of my absolute favorite comedies. As Noah and Littleberry talk on the bus, the name of Hoke comes up and Noah realizes he must return.
This is one of those movies I would watch numerous times. I highly recommend it. You feel for the people, their loses, and their joys as well.