Country-western chirp Lorrie Morgan makes her dramatic bow on the Nashville Network in an hourlong vignette about the healing effects of bereavement and how a gutsy young woman takes hold of the day. Morgan performs credibly, and the vidstory by Bland Simpson, Steve Womack and director Jack Cole says something important in a gentle, beckoning way.
Sam Farmer (Morgan), working on an assembly line in the city, hears that her beloved daddy has died suddenly back home in Proudheart, Tenn. He’s left wife Ruth Ellen (Collin Wilcox-Paxton), single Sam’s 10-year-old daughter Rose (Nancy Moore Atchinson) and a stack of debts against his gas station.
Home again, Sam’s upset that her mother doesn’t come to the funeral but girds herself to save Dad’s station by working it herself with friend Isaac (Dominick LaRae). And she meets a man she’s taken with (Darrell Larson).
The simple tale as Ruth Ellen, Rose and Sam get to know each other is a delight. The writers have even tossed in a station-saving fundraiser where Sam sings a sweet “I Always Do,” but it happens naturally in the script.
Ruth Ellen, who was once away for a year at a sanitarium after a breakdown, explains that to young Rose, who’s heard her grandmother had been in a nut house; and Ruth Ellen tenderly explains to Sam why she was not at the funeral.
Morgan does a good job as the determined Sam, and admirable Wilcox-Paxton gives her role an endearing, persuasive touch as she develops the character. As Rose, Atchinson is solid, and LaRae’s troubled Isaac is fine. Mary Jo Deschanel as Sam’s Aunt Donna and Larson as Sam’s new heart interest add even more good texture.
Director Cole brings out a becoming regional aspect to “Proudheart.” Nothing’s pressured, and Morgan singing “Lorrie’s Lullaby” to young Rose a cappella is unforced and reassuring. Mitch Glickman’s sympathetic score is charming, camerawork by Renato Di Giuseppe, editing by Katina Zinner are good, Josan Russo’s design for the production is first rate, and Morgan’s debut is impressive.