Toni Braxton plays Nina, a character who already has her voice, and strives to find her footing in Lifetime Movie Network’s Twist of Faith. Is it a movie that one can sink their teeth in? I think so. My opinion is based upon the repeated viewing of the movie during its premiere weekend.
Extratv.com’s February 12 online article is one of many where she indicated that she is ready to stop cutting music CD’s. However, she never said she would entirely hang up her singing hat. In Twist of Faith, we hear the signature heavy voice that we’ve come to love when she sings an inspirational song, and a classic. When she shares a duo with on-screen love interest played by David J. Hirsh, one can see that she is enjoying herself on at least two levels. Since she is playing a choir girl, it’s a bonus to see her work her vocals alongside Jewish Cantor Jacob Fisher; a new man in town.
One plus is her soaring and agile voice, and the other benefit is that we get to see her discover that she is seeing Fisher in a loving light. A dawn of realization hits him at the same time. Possibilities began to open up and their hearts thaw while in the choir loft.
This movie uses music as a unifying theme very well. That’s what music does in life – thus we call it the universal language. This is not overdone, one could never call this a musical.
Early in the movie, Hirsh grabbed me with his silent horrific response to seeing his murdered loved ones on a bus. He had no speaking roles, so his face had to do the work. This was a marvelously written, and believably executed scene. Hats off to Hirsch. In fact, throughout the movie, his face told the story as well as any words that he spoke.
Pairing two love-shy people together in close quarters is nothing new. Having a damsel in distress rescued by her hero is also a repeated plot-line. However, it’s the way these things unfold in the movie that make it more than tolerable. We enjoy seeing Braxton and Fisher in these and other scenarios.
For we are not just looking at a Christian girl and a Jewish boy; we see a black Christian girl paired with a white Jewish boy. Pleasantly written in the script by Janet Fattal, Joyce Gittlin and Stephen Tolkien is his mother’s unconditional blessing of the relationship, because she sees that love has captured her son’s heart. This is a departure from most scripts, where the heart of the story’s conflict is between families who don’t want their loved ones yoked with someone outside of their faith.
I watched the movie three times. I enjoyed confirming what I discovered during the first viewing. Braxton is every bit as good as an actress as she is a singer. It was reassuring to see that if one wants to partially close one talent gift and open another, they have that option (and can rise to the occasion). Toni can sink her teeth into an acting career because she really can act. Her speaking voice projection was a tribute to her training and experience singing to the masses.
Now, provided she wants to, she could easily become a first-billed actress and make a darn good living at it. If she finds offers to play in singing or musical roles, I think she should take them. It is my hopes that people who can make an acting career happen for her were watching as closely as I was.
According to IMDb, there was a 2004 movie by the same title. The 2013 movie used an entirely different storyline.