Lenten Movie Reviews – A Man For All Seasons

I’m sure we are all familiar with this story to some extent. The one where Henry VIII wants an heir so bad he creates a church that will allow him to divorce his wife and marry the one that gave him a son. There are loads of movies and TV shows about it, most of which do not take into account the Catholic perspective. My husband and I watched The Other Boleyn Girl a few months ago and were shocked how little the Catholic Church and Thomas More were mentioned. Considering the entire fiasco is because of Henry VIII’s view of the Church and disregard for it’s teachings, you’d think it would play a larger role.

Next up in our Lenten movie journey: A Man For All Seasons

A_Man_for_All_Seasons_(1966_movie_poster)

 

I just love learning about the saints! Especially ones who are seemingly normal people just like you and me. Thomas More was a family man, trying to earn a living and be loyal to the King of England. He was a man of deep faith, and was held in very high regard during the time he was alive. That was until Henry VIII went against the Church, and Thomas refused to follow.

I would love to think that if I was placed in a similar situation I would stand firm with the Church like he did. But at the same time, risking being taken away from my family, and facing death? I don’t know what I would do. But I guess that is why he is the saint.

This movie is a great period piece, with wonderful costumes and scenery that draws you in to England in the 1500s. It focuses on the events leading up to More’s eventual conviction and beheading, as King Henry VIII’s advisers scramble to find a way for him to marry Anne Boleyn. As Catholic’s, they know the Pope will not grant a divorce, so the King declares himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and allows himself to divorce and remarry in that church. More refuses to accept this, and cleverly avoids being tried for treason for some time, by never uttering the actual words. He will neither deny nor confirm what everyone assumes to be true, and is locked in the Tower of London as punishment, until they can prove that he has committed treason. If it is possible, it is quite the comical portrayal of More, as he avoids being convicted of any crime. As a lawyer, he knows the power of perfect wording, and they have some trouble finding him guilty of anything. But in the end, once he is finally convicted of high treason, thanks false testimony, he admits that he does not acknowledge the King as the head of a Church saying “no temporal man may be the head of the spirituality”.

Upon the steps before his execution, he calmly uttered his famous final words, as he declared he was “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

A fantastic film, and must watch for all Catholics, and especially those that love shows like Downton Abbey and The Tudors, it gives you a great Catholic perspective on that time in England.

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Lenten Movie Reviews – Lillies of the Field

When this movie started I may have cringed a little. I’m not the biggest fan of old movies, mostly because I feel like people only like them because they think it makes them cool. But if it’s a good movie, then is really doesn’t matter when it was made, or if it is black and white! And this one was so good, so I didn’t even mind it was black and white!

Second on our Lenten movie journey: Lillies of the Field

lillies of the field

A very young Sidney Poitier plays Homer Smith, a handy man traveling through the Arizona desert, when his car over heats. He finds a place to get some water, but doesn’t realize God has a bigger plan for him than just a quick pit stop. The farm he finds, is home to a small group of German nuns, who speak very broken English. They think he has been sent by God, and sort of trick Schmidt, as they call him, into staying and doing a few repairs, and eventually building them a chapel.
This movie is categorized as a drama, but my husband and I both agree it is much more a comedy. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues as the young free living Baptist reluctantly helps the very poor German nuns. From him teaching them English and a Southern hymn, to them teaching him that God often has greater plans for us. He arrives a very selfish young man, but learns to think of others, to trust in God, and to have faith in the community. God will provide, if it is his will to do so, and the nuns teach him that very important lesson.

It is very funny, and very heart warming!

Poitier won the Academy Award for Best Male Actor for his role in this movie! The movie is based on a book by the same name, and there is also a squeal to the film, Christmas Lillies of the Field, though Sidney Poitier doesn’t play Homer, and since he is so good in this, I’m not sure I would enjoy it as much. The chemistry between him and the nuns really makes the film.

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Lenten Movie Reviews – The Mighty Macs

My husband and I often joke that my favourite genre of movies are sports movies. I love a feel good underdog story, even more if it is based on a true story! The only thing that can make it better is keeping it wholesome. Which as you can imagine, is pretty rare in Hollywood!

So it made sense to start this Lenten movie journey with a basketball underdog story, The Mighty Macs.

Mighty Macs

Cathy wasn’t ready to be a housewife, and loved basketball, so she took a coaching job at Immaculata College. The school had no gym, out dated uniforms, and only one basketball. A dim future in general, the school was struggling with admissions, and the possibility of being sold. Sports were not big on the list of necessities until Cathy came along. But with team work, a lot of faith, and plenty of perseverance, they manage to come together and inspire not just the college, but the entire town.  It’s a heartwarming movie, fit for the entire family. Teaching everyone to dream big, have faith, and trust your team mates.

It is based on the real story of the women’s college basketball team at the small school just outside Philadelphia. Apparently some of the original team even makes an appearance as nuns, cheering on the team at one of the games!

My only negative on this film is it the emphasis it places on being your own woman and not needing a man. Careers and your own dreams are important, but so many women do want to find a husband and start a family. I do understand that this movie taking place in the early 70s has something to do with that, and the real struggle women faced at that time. And in the end, Cathy and her husband learn to support each other, so I guess I can let that part go. There is also a scene where the coach gets the nuns to pass a note to a student during Mass, which I doubt any nun would actually do, but it is more to show the lack of understanding from Cathy, and it is kind of funny.

Great, clean family movie, would be perfect for girls aged 6-12. 

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