FILM REVIEW: Faith, Hope & Love
By Giuliana Harris
Faith, Hope & Love is a heartwarming film, sharing the message of all three title themes, which premiers March 15, 2019 and stars Robert Krantz, of Greek Descent, and Peta Murgatoyd, of Dancing with the Stars fame. The film centers on “Jimmy Elpidas” played by Krantz and “Faith Turley,” played by Murgatoyd, each of whom are going through their own personal tribulations. When fate brings them together by way of a “Pro and Schmo” dance competition, they enter into a partnership where they each are able to be a mentoring force to one another in different aspects of life. Krantz’ character Jimmy is a recently widowed father who is struggling to keep up with the demands of his career and parenting his two young daughters. On the other hand, Murgatoyd’s character Faith is a dance teacher whose studio is in jeopardy. What both Faith and Jimmy bring to one another on the dance floor contributes to each other’s restoration.
Krantz not only stars in the film, but filled the roles of Director (along with JJ Englert), Writer, Producer, and Editor while Murgatoyd also holds credit as one of the Choreographers of the film. Krantz eloquently weaved the Greek-American culture and Greek Orthodox faith into the film, depicting his character Jimmy’s values, morals, ethos, and catharsis in ways that are familiar and resonant. Especially for anyone who has ever walked through tragedy with the prospect of hope. Krantz performs Jimmy with perfect emotional nuances, conveying a mixture of raw emotion and humor – each at separate points. His facial expressions and delivery provide a naturalism that is extremely well-done. You cannot help but root for, and embrace, Jimmy Elpidas throughout the film.
Murgatoyd shines as Faith, who characteristically is a perfect blend of realism and optimism. Her mentorship to the young girls at her studio and instructional partnership in the competition with Jimmy, showcase a confident, kind, and selfless being. With Faith’s own hurts from her past, Murgatoyd excellently portrays feelings of mistrust, yet still holding on to the hope of building trust again. She especially shines in the dance numbers, exemplifying her mastery of fluidity and control simultaneously.
On-screen together, Krantz and Murgatoyd’s scenes demonstrate a visible connection. With Murgatoyd’s profession of dance and Krantz’ overall zest for dancing, they move seamlessly together. Of special note, seeing Krantz’ character teach Murgatoyd’s to do a hasapiko, adds to the kefi of the film! There are numerous pieces of the film that contribute to the various aspects that make it flow so well. The comedic scenes are especially supported by way of Michael Richards (“Cosmo Kramer” of Seinfeld) and Jimmy’s Bible Study group member Ed Asner (“Lou” from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and “Santa Claus” of Elf). Adding to the familial backstory, Natasha Bure and Aria Walters each contribute to the Elpidas Family with a wonderful display of love for their screen-father and the Elpidas oikogeneia. Playing Jimmy’s boss, “Brian,” is Corbin Bernsen (of L.A. Law) who offers a stellar performance of tough love with compassion. Special cameo appearance by Maksim “Maks” Chmerkovskiy, Murgatoyd’s husband, for all you Dancing with the Stars/Peta & Maks fans out there!
The film carries multiple messages that are best to be viewed and experienced, that are more than applicable to daily life and are soul-filling. Whether it’s a laugh, a cry, or a smile, there’s something for everyone. With characters spanning multiple generations, each of whom has their own story to tell. Thematically and cinematically, Faith, Hope & Love successfully combines the virtues of faith, hope, and love in a way that is both realistic and inspiring. For screening locations and showtimes, visit https://fhl.movie
Email the author: Giuliana