(3 / 5)
As the world searches through the multitude of content on the various streaming services, it can be a real treasure hunt. Which means that the majority of the digging leads to disappointment. Yet, every once and a while, there is a gem found in the dirt. Those rare finds not only dazzle against the rest of the films on offer, but they also deliver a sense of wonder at how it remained hidden for so long.
Faith, Hope & Love is a surprising find that seemed to come out of nowhere. A film created by Robert Krantz, a relatively unknown writer and director who has managed to make an endearing, low budget tale for the whole family. He stars in the film as Jimmy Hope, a widower with two daughters who is trying to keep his family together. The advertising executive has struggled to get his mojo back ever since the death of his beloved wife. As everything in his life seems to be unravelling, Jimmy’s youngest daughter gets her father to sign up for a dance contest with her ballet teacher, Faith (Peta Murgatroyd).
The contest is meant to be for a novice and professional to dance in a local dance competition. The prize money would mean the salvation of Faith’s dance studio that is having financial difficulties. Despite coming from very different backgrounds, Jimmy and his dance instructor begin to develop a beautiful friendship. A connection that leads to more in-depth conversations about faith, family and grief. As the date for the contest gets closer, things begin to change in the lives of the dancing partners that will cause ripple effects through both of their lives and all they love.
What was surprising about this find was that it managed to accomplish something that few faith-based films can accomplish. Krantz’s screenplay manages to play on his natural charm and the way he manages to live out his faith. Between his Greek heritage and unapologetic Christian faith, he incorporates this element into one of the best romantic comedies on Netflix. Some of the dialogue is a bit awkward and many of the supporting cast manage to overplay their roles, but interestingly, these weaknesses come off as heart-warming and winsome.
With a supporting cast like Corbin Bernsen (Psych) and Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) (Yes, he is still alive… amazingly), there is enough in the production to lift it out of the mediocrity that tends to persist in this genre. Especially since it is really a rom-com that happens to include some faith conversations as a backdrop. The chemistry between dancer turned actress, Peta Murgatroyd and Krantz was critical for this to work. On the surface, they should not work, but their relationship becomes more convincing as the story unfolds.
Do they get together in the end? You will have to watch it to find out, but it will be worth discovering the answer. Faith, Hope & Love is like opening an oyster and finding a pearl, a treasure hidden within the indistinguishable shell.
REEL DIALOGUE: Is the God of the Bible a romantic?
With a film like Faith, Hope & Love, it is hard to miss the obvious need for romance in our lives. When it comes to romance, the God of the Bible does not usually come to mind as a purveyor of love. Most people inside and outside the Christian faith may think that discovering real romance can occur outside the Bible. It is an unfortunate misconception because as the Creator and God of love, it can be said that romance was his idea, too.
Romance: love, esp romantic love idealised for its purity or beauty
From the original creation account to the wisdom literature of the Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Solomon, the word pictures and phrases make for an atmosphere for romance. Like any relationship, God does set parameters for this love connection, but within this playground, the Creator of romance allows for beautiful atmosphere for love.
1. What does the Bible have to say about romance? (Proverbs 5:18-19, Song of Solomon)
2. Where can we find real love, hope and joy in this broken world? (Acts 24:14-16, Romans 8:24)