Here it is my fellow Christian brothers and sisters! 6 time Grammy Award winning R&B vocalist Toni Braxton in her very first starring role as Nina on Twist of Faith TV movie drama that was aired on February 9 on Lifetime channel in the US. I had a fortune to see this movie online so here is the review that I promised to you if I would. The movie tells a touching love story of a white Orthodox Jewish Cantor, teacher and aspiring songwriter Jacob Fisher (David Hirsh) from Brooklyn, New York, and an African American Christian Nina Jones (Braxton) who's rooted to her church singing in a gospel choir in Alabama, being a single mom and a school teacher. It feels like this role was especially written for Braxton as I heard her telling in interviews how she could relate to her character as a daughter of a preacher, being a single mom in real life and having being pursued education of a teacher in college before her big breakthrough into music industry. Braxton's autistic son Diesel has a supporting role in this movie as her son. I wouldn't believe he's autistic as to me he seemed like a normal, healthy kid and did his minor part very well.
Jacob took off to Alabama after he had witnessed his wife and children being senselessly murdered by a stranger and then he ended up in the backyard of Nina's family hungry and exhausted. Nina first has her doubts on him but the rest of her family takes him with open arms. Little by little they become closer sharing each other their life's wounds and their common love for music. Jacob also saves Nina from the hands of intruders that come to damage the church in the middle of the night. It's a beautiful, vulnerable story about hope, faith and love and crossing the borders of race and religion. This movie seems to be carrying similar message of humanity, peace, faith, love and tolerance as my blog is. The story has depth but at the same time it's really fast paced and predictable. Telling about ordinary life there's little glamour or excitement.
I can't help but compare Toni Braxton's role as Nina to that of Beyoncé's as Lilly in The FightingTemptations because both Beyoncé and Braxton could relate to their characters in their gospel movies in real life and both of their characters entered a gospel choir competition in the script. I could say that Braxton had her Beyoncé moments in this movie. Neither Beyoncé nor Braxton managed to stun us in these movies by their acting skills both making it better in the singing scenes. Top moments of Twist of Faith are Braxton singing with the gospel choir, especially the songs "I Surrender All" and "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" preparing for Gospel Sunday Choir Competition final. Some of her fans including myself would be pleased if she'd release a gospel album one day but I don't think that's going to happen as she's not interested in recording any new material.
Grade: 7,5/10. There's no denying that the story had depth but the most of the acting performances were mediocre except David Hirsh's himself who had the deepest role. To my taste the story proceeded too quickly and I was bored in the middle of the film. Add to that the cliché ending I have reason to doubt that Toni Braxton would have needed a better, bigger debut on the big screen instead of a low budget TV film. Braxton's performance came up mediocre but still better than in Kingdom Come. She has a long way to go to reach the same level as an actress that likes of Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson have reached. As Braxton is done with recording in my opinion she would have suited better than well as a new American Idol judge. Toni Braxton fans will make the most of this movie but for others it may be too boring.