An engaging tale of a family’s journey from its heartbreaking flight from war-torn Cyprus to the struggles of trying to make a living in the dying sea sponge industry. Told through the eyes of Luka, a young Greek girl trying to find her way in a world of people she doesn’t always understand, Epiphany is a character-driven story of a fractured family and how they learn to lean on their Greek heritage to find their way back to one another. Abandoned as a baby by her father, Luka was raised by her aunt and uncle—the story unfolds following the death of Luka’s aunt, leaving Uncle Peter reeling from grief and resentment, and Luka searching to connect with the father she hardly knows while he is navigating a new relationship with a woman who may have the will and heart to save them all. Just when they start to try to find their way back to each other, a bitter figure from their past threatens to take it all away, again.
The Dove Take:
Epiphany demonstrates the ways in which individuals can grow from traumatic pasts and turn difficult situations into valuable lessons and experiences.
Luka is a young girl being raised by her uncle Peter—recently widowed after the tragic death of his wife to breast cancer. Familial discord is a clear theme from the very beginning, as Peter and Luka’s father, Theo, argue over a nearly deadly accident while diving for sponges. The family of three is taut for money and this greatly stresses their relationship.
After stealing money from her youth group, Luka is assigned by a priest to read to the elderly in the local nursing home. Luka choses a man they call “Crab Apple” to read to—and quickly finds out that the drunken old man does not want to be read to at all. Instead, he tells her stories of his own life and they begin to develop a bond.
A story of tragedy and forgiveness, Theo, Peter, Luka and Crab Apple all have their own wounds to tend to. As the movie progresses, viewers see the ways in which all of their stories are intertwined. Theo has been a disappointment his whole life—viewers learn just how troubling his past has been through a riveting reunion scene between him and his father toward the end of the film. The rejection of his father as a child, and well into adulthood, leads Theo to reject his own daughter despite the fact that he loves her.
Peter faces more recent struggles after the death of his wife. Raising his brother’s daughter on his own proves to be a challenge. Crab Apple clearly has some issues to address from his own past. His visits with Luka seem to draw memories from him and present him with issues that he must face.
Luka wants desperately to help her family and will go to great lengths to do so—lengths that often get her into trouble. Without a female role model, she struggles to grow as a woman and wishes she were a boy so that she could impress her father and uncle. Later in the movie, a local nurse named Cari proves to be a positive role model for Luka. She shines light on the fact that both Theo and Peter must put forth more effort to show Luka love and affection and to raise her in a way that demonstrates her own value.
Although Epiphany has clearly religious undertones, it does not address the Christian faith directly. Numerous ceremonies involving a cross are seen as well as multiple scenes held with in a church. Integrity, on the other hand, is a clear theme in the progression of the film. Viewers see four individuals, who, with Cari’s help, grow significantly in their own character—making some amends and becoming stronger because of them.
Epiphany has won a total of 8 awards and has 13 other nominations from different film festivals. Its camerawork is sharp, and the audio is very clear—despite a few scenes where Crab Apple is hard to understand. With breathtaking scenery and thoughtful acting, Epiphany demonstrates the ways in which one’s own negative experiences can be turned around for the better.