When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
When Calls the Heart: The  Heart of Homecoming Movie Poster Image
Christmas comes to Hope Valley in wholesome, feel-good tale.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 84 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Set at turn of 20th century, depicts small-town life.

Positive Messages

Hope and faith are sustaining foundations of life. Other values promoted: kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, loyalty, honesty, generosity. Making the wishes of others come true is a gift in itself. "Life is what you make of it."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Leading characters exemplary in their behavior, social consciousness. Even flawed characters may reveal a good heart. No villains; everyone tries to do their best.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Loving kisses.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine is served at dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming is part of the When Calls the Heart franchise originating with a book and then adapted for television in a long-running Canadian series broadcast on The Hallmark Channel. Miracles, kindnesses, and happy endings endure in Hope Valley, a small Canadian town near the turn of the 20th century. This special 84-minute movie, previously titled When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree, aired on Christmas Day 2017 to begin Season 5 of the show. Fans of the wholesome stories, the hope- and faith-filled messages, and the town made up almost entirely of generous, thoughtful, and caring people with some occasional unorthodox characters won't be disappointed. First-time viewers will find much to like, but without the added resonance of past events and character histories. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 6, and 6-year-old Written byjkpoehls May 27, 2019
Teen, 13 years old Written byBabygrootlover October 11, 2019

Pretty plain but has some high points

I’ve seen this series twice and there are moments that are lively and fun, but other than that- a slight try to hard minor drama romance.
Teen, 13 years old Written byEllasunnysideup April 2, 2018

So cute!!

This show is just adorable! It does have some romance, but it is never anything bad. It never swears. There is little to no violence. There is some gunshots. Th... Continue reading

What's the story?

Christmas is coming to Hope Valley in WHEN CALLS THE HEART: THE HEART OF HOMECOMING. Everyone is busily engaged in preparing for the holiday joy and the Christmas parade. The festivities have been made extra special this year with the addition of a Christmas Wishing Tree. Each person will make an ornament announcing his or her Christmas wish and place it on the tree. Those ornaments will be taken by others whose mission it is to make that wish come true. And stories abound. Schoolteacher Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) is longing to see Jack (Daniel Lissing), her beloved fiancé who is working in Canada's Northwest Territories as a Mountie. Mayor Abigail (Lori Loughlin) is awaiting daughter Becky's arrival when a snowstorm interferes with her plans. And Abigail is hoping to give a brief second chance to ex-mayor Henry Gowan (Martin Cummins), who is awaiting a long prison term. Others in the valley have uncertainty as well: an expectant couple, an elderly woman, and a young man faced with sudden temptation. For everyone involved, surprises and miracles are only a heartbeat away.

Is it any good?

Nice people in a picturesque setting with solvable problems and a true sense of community find new ways to express their hope and faith in this holiday entry from the ongoing Canadian franchise. Brighter teeth, wider smiles, and loving affirmations have all found a true home in Hope Valley. It all goes down easily in When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming, and even the few twists meant to surprise viewers aren't terribly unpredictable. Conflict comes from acts of nature, hurt feelings, old sorrows, and miscommunication rather than villains. It's always wholesome, always good-hearted, and one can forgive the sometimes wooden acting, lack of nuance, and prettified view of a time long gone. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the world has changed since the time period shown in When Calls the Heart: The Heart of Homecoming. What lessons still have meaning for us more than 100 years later? Do the concepts of teamwork and kindness ever change? There's an expression that goes "the more things change, the more they stay the same." How does the When Calls the Heart franchise prove this to be true?

  • Were you familiar with the When Calls the Heart series on The Hallmark Channel before you saw this? What is it about the characters and stories that keeps you coming back? If you hadn't seen this series before, did watching this film encourage you to see more of it? 

  • How do the characters in this film demonstrate teamwork and gratitude? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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