Heart of the Country (2013) [Review]

Director/writer: John Ward
Cast: Jana Kramer, Gerald McRaney, Randy Wayne, Shaun Sipos, and Anne Hawthorne
Rated: PG
Sites: IMDb/trailer Official movie site
Notes: Film is distributed by 20th Century Fox | Official Facebook

Heart of the Country movie reviewI just recently started watching season 7 of One Tree Hill on DVD, which introduces a new character by the name of Alex Dupre, played by Jana Kramer. I have not been familiar with the young actress, who’s also a country singer, up until now, when coincidentally this romantic drama in which she stars just came my way. Ok, nerdy realization over, lets get to the review.

Heart of the Country is a family-oriented drama about a young woman named Faith (Kramer) who’s returned from her big city life back to her roots in a small North Carolina town after her high-profile husband Luke (Randy Wayne) is jailed under suspicion of financial fraud. We get the feeling things weren’t left off the best at home as we realize Faith’s mom passed away, her father is lonely, and her relationship with her sister seems awkward.

Faith reconnects with her father especially, who reminds her of the small things and little life lessons here and there, such as always keeping the music going. Faith also forms a new bond with an old friend Lee (Shaun Sipos), who catches her eye and only makes her more confused in the light of her marriage situation. She decides to stick around her hometown for a while as she thinks about the future of her marriage and her life in general.

Going into to a film such as this, I tend to make several assumptions. Looking at the cover art, PG rating, and plot, I had a good idea of what was in store. My expectations really weren’t far off in this case. That isn’t necessary a bad thing, as the story was interesting, the acting was well done, and a family-friendly drama is a nice change of pace from all of the overstimulated stuff out there. However, this becomes more of a negative when the film begins to feel predictable and often makes safe choices.

With a name like Heart of the Country, and knowing it stars a country singer, I was expecting more of a country themed movie. To my pleasant surprise though, this was not the case, even though there were a good deal of songs that fit well. The story, while it didn’t come with many surprises and certainly wasn’t very edgy, kept my interest enough. Assuming they were trying to go for the more family-friendly audience, I can sort of understand the tameness of the film, but still can’t help but feel a little disappointed in that regard.

For those in search of small town love with the equal amounts of happy and sad moments, but nothing too risque, Heart of the Country will take you home.