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The Magic of Ordinary Days (film)

Made-for-television movie under the Hallmark Hall of Fame banner about the arranged marriage of an educated urban woman carrying an illegitimate child and a kindly farmer. The film includes a subplot about a friendship between the woman and two Japanese American sisters from Amache who are among the farmworkers.

As the film begins, Olivia "Livy" Dunn is on a train to rural La Junta, Colorado, in July of 1944. Formerly an archeology graduate student from Denver, she had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, and through an agreement with her father and a pastor, has been set up to marry a farmer named Ray Singleton. Livy is seemingly unsuited for rural life—her mode of dress and her education immediately set her apart from others in the town, and she knows nothing about farming and doesn't know how to cook—and Ray is initially taciturn, though kind. She is also embraced by Ray's sister Martha and her family and starts to warm to the community and to Ray. Ray also goes to great lengths to try to please her, even reading archeology books and indulging her exploration of his family's history. But when Livy's sister Abby pays a surprise visit to the farm and pleads with Livy to go back to Denver to live with her, Livy is torn.

Soon after Livy's arrival on the farm, she sees the Japanese American farmworkers, whom Ray explains come from Amache and make up the bulk of his farm laborers. Hungry for interaction with people other than farmers, she strikes up a conversation with two Nisei sisters, Florence and Rose, who are identifying and drawing butterflies in the field. Former students from the University of Southern California, Livy is drawn to their intelligence and recognizes the broad commonalities of their predicaments. The daughter of a tailor, they offer to make maternity clothes for Livy; when they go shopping for fabric in town, the store owners and customers harass them. While fitting Livy, Florence tells her about their eviction from their California home and how their mother made them clean the house before they left it to the new owners who had purchased it for a pittance, to the irritation of Rose, who would prefer she not talk about such things. Later, in a subplot-within-a-subplot, Florence falls in love with a German POW working in the area and tries to enlist Livy's help in his escape, a development seemingly based (loosely) on the actual case of the Shitara sisters . Livy takes the sisters to and from Amache, and the entrance to the camp is recreated in the movie.

The movie was based on a novel by Ann Howard Creel and was adapted for TV by Camille Thompson and directed by Brent Shields. Filming took place in Alberta, Canada. It premiered on CBS on January 30, 2005.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Farewell to Manzanar (1976); Come See the Paradise (1990); Midway (1976)

Media Details
Release Date 2004
Runtime 98 minutes
Director Brent Shields
Producer Andrew Gottleib
Screenplay Camille Thomasson
Starring Keri Russell (Livy), Skeet Ulrich (Ray), Mare Winningham (Martha), Tania Gunadi (Florence), Gwendoline Yeo (Rose)
Music Lawrence Shragge
Cinematography Eric Van Haren Norman
Editing Michael Ornstein
Studio Hallmark Hall of Fame