Each time the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presents a new movie I marvel at their choices. For each time they select a story that is uplifting to the audience and wonderfully entertaining as well. Their latest presentation is Firelight and it is another solid and uplifting movie. It is time for America to tune in to these shows, as more indifference on its part might cause us to lose this sacred venue.
Firelight is based on the life of Dwayne Johnson, known as DJ in the film. DJ (Cuba Gooding, Jr) is a youth counselor in a detention center for girls. He really cares about those whose path he crosses. In the movie it is all about his relationship with two of the young women, Terry (DeWanda Wise) and Caroline (Q'orianka Kilcher).
The film shows how Terry meets Caroline on her first day at the facility and immediately begins to help her adjust. DJ has started a firefighting crew with some of the girls and Terry is a part of this. She tries to get Caroline to join in but Caroline wants to stay away from these girls. She even leans towards joining up with a gang in the center.
Watching over all this is DJ, a man who cares about his charges so much that it frustrates him. He knows what they are capable of, and wants them to redeem themselves through their actions. He succeeds with some and with others he doesn't.
Gooding is excellent as DJ, providing just the right type of nurturing personality for the role. Gooding's career has seen him pick some great roles and some not so great ones. This one was a wise choice.
Kilcher is also good as the hostile Caroline. This character evolves during the film and Kilcher projects the right temperament at the right time. Still, as good as Gooding and Kilcher are, it is Wise who provides the heart of the film. She is the one who makes the audience care totally from start to finish.
So once again we get a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation that has a wonderful true story, a cast that is stronger than most, and an impact that leaves the audience feeling uplifted. You can't beat that for a terrific way to spend two hours.
So tune into the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" on Sunday night, April 22 at 9PM on ABC. You'll have a great time.
Jackie K Cooper
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