A Touch of Hope (1999)
The Man with the Electric Hands
It was after a game of basketball with friends that Dean Kraft (Anthony Michael Hall) first experienced a strange feeling as he pulled a woman severely injured from her crashed car. He couldn't understand what had happened but it perplexed him and even more when having been told by the attending paramedics that there was little hope the woman left hospital a few days later with just bruises and scratches. As Dean tries to get to grips with his gift it affects him in various ways as those closest to him struggle to deal with the change they see with him whilst those in the medical establishments claim he is a fraud when he starts to use his gift to help others.
Have you heard the name Dean Kraft before or Rochelle Kraft? Well they are a husband and wife who in the simplistic terms trade on Dean having healing hands and as such have those who believe in what they claim whilst others think he is a fraud. What "A Touch of Hope" is is a dramatization of Kraft's own biography of how this gift he says he has altered his life. I say "he says he has" purely because I have never come across Dean Kraft before and so can't pass judgement on the credibility of his claims.
So approaching "A Touch of Hope" purely as a piece of entertainment, which is what I did, and it is kind of entertaining as we have what shall I say is not a too unsurprising journey of scepticism as Dean with the help of Dr. Neil Bachman (Abraham Benrubi) tries to understand his powers but faces scepticism from those who can't accept that he has some sort of way of channelling energy which can heal people. Along the way in what feels like a cliche a person close to him needs his help. But unfortunately whilst it shows initially Dean struggled with this gift they try to dramatize what happens when Dean lays his hands on people and the visual technique just doesn't work, it cheapens the movie.
Despite this mistake when it comes to showing what happens to Dean when he lays on hands "A Touch of Hope" still works as entertainment as the storyline whilst familiar is still entertaining as beside the conflict and scepticism we see other things such as Dean's relationship with Rochelle. But most importantly "A Touch of Hope" stars Anthony Michael Hall and he has an automatic likeability about him, a sense of normality which makes him easy to connect to. And that sense of normality helps break through some of the over staging which is the same with CCH Pounder as Lily Keyes who is healed thanks to Dean.
What this all boils down to is that "A Touch of Hope" is a movie which floats in the middle as it is part biopic part drama, it highlights the possibility that Dean has healing hands but never fully supports it. It means that "A Touch of Hope" isn't the most memorable of movies because of that sense of living in the middle ground.
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