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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Faith, Hope & Love is a faith-based romcom/dance movie starring Robert Krantz and Dancing with the Stars' dancer Peta Murgatroyd in her acting debut. It's mostly light and lots of fun, but it does tackle some heavy topics, including a family recovering from the death of a parent, an eating disorder, and marital infidelity. Iffy material includes drinking beer at a bar, a dancer wearing revealing clothing, and the word "hell." Characters kiss and talk about past relationships, and social media is used to promote a "revenge date." This film is mostly about big moves -- both on the dance floor and in dating -- but it still hangs its hat on promoting directly biblical/faith-related messages. It also has clear themes of gratitude and teamwork.
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What's the story?
In FAITH, HOPE & LOVE, ad man Jimmy Hope (Robert Krantz, who also directs) is a widower raising two daughters on his own. He faces unemployment unless he can land the account of a dating app company. Faith Turley (Peta Murgatroyd) is an unlucky-in-love divorcée who needs to win a ballroom dance competition to save her dance studio. By helping each other, the two find and develop a deeper connection.
Is it any good?
Dancing and Christianity have come a long way since Footloose: This is a faith-based film that doesn't need to kick off its Sunday shoes -- it boogies in them. Just like the Kevin Bacon classic Dirty Dancing, Step Up, and other beloved dance films, Faith, Hope & Love hinges on a top-notch dancer coaching someone with two left feet on how to wow a crowd. It's been done before for a reason: It's just plain fun to watch, especially when it involves skilled stepper Peta Murgatroyd, a Dancing with the Stars pro making her acting debut, shining with an on-camera ease. And a brief side story with actors Ambrit Millhouse and EJ Gage is so delightful that it's hard not to hope their characters will get a sequel.
Faith, Hope & Love is perfectly imperfect -- words the filmmakers will wear as a badge of honor (it is, after all, the film's message). What works is a real-life authenticity in which one main character is a dedicated Christian and one isn't but is nevertheless accepting of and interested in what drives the other's faith. That said, there's a palpable struggle to entertain "casual Christians" while still satisfying the devout crowd. And as the movie goes on, it starts to get bogged down by the need to hit more scriptural components. Plus, since Murgatroyd, Krantz, and much of the supporting cast create a world that feels really genuine, it's all the more distracting when co-producer Michael Richards appears as a zany, over-the-top, Kramer-like character. The grown-up relationship stuff isn't too likely to interest kids, but for faith-based parents, Krantz's "So You Think Dad Can Dance" story is sensational.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Faith, Hope & Love's assertion that a relationship should be founded in a mutual belief in God. Parents, talk about the importance you place on someone's belief system when it comes to dating. What other key questions do you think should be asked to see if someone is a match for you?
Jimmy gets Faith to go on a "revenge date," posting pictures on social media to make another man like her. Is this lying? Is it deceptive? Many people use social media to show what a fabulous life they're living, even if it's misleading -- is that wrong? What are the consequences of using social media in this way?
Jimmy "helps" his daughter with her college application essay without her knowledge. How much should parents help their children with school work? Where do you think the line is between helping and cheating?
Do you think this movie will appeal only to Christian audiences? Who do you think will most enjoy this movie?
- In theaters: March 15, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: September 24, 2019
- Cast: Robert Krantz, Peta Murgatroyd, Michael Richards
- Director: Robert Krantz
- Studio: ArtAffects Entertainment
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Arts and Dance
- Character strengths: Gratitude, Teamwork
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some thematic elements
- Last updated: September 3, 2020
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