During Lent this year, we’re going to watch an edifying, well-made family movie every week, possibly on Friday nights. That means everyone has to watch it. That means you can’t be on Instagram or drawing BTS fan art while you’re watching it! My stars, how penitential can you get?
We haven’t watched many of the typical Catholic movies that Catholic families watch, so this is probably a pretty basic list. There are seven Fridays in Lent this year, but I guess we’ll skip Good Friday. Here’s my list so far. Suggestions welcome!
“With the brand of Alfred Hitchcock burned into every scene!” Sold! I could go for a “priest as hero” movie.
Song of Bernadette. I have never seen this movie, but we are way, way behind on our apparition education. The kids know about Our Lady of Guadalupe and I think that may be it, oops. People tell me this movie holds up, if you can put up with some dated acting, and it has Vincent Price in it. Good enough for me.
The Miracle Maker (1999)
A stop motion animated life of Christ I saw several years ago, and was impressed by. It does have some scenes that would be alarming for little guys. I remember it as being not perfect but pretty gripping.
Mehh, maybe not. I think the older kids have actually seen this one, so this is not high on my list. The one thing I learned from watching it is that excommunication is extremely dramatic and noisy, and it turns out it’s actually not, so I may have an unreasonable grudge against this movie. Gosh, I love Richard Burton’s face, though. I always want to bring him some hot milk and give him the day off.
Well, this looks really good. I somehow missed hearing about it when it came out.
Looks like it would be for teenagers only. I am always drawn to movies that portray characters as fully human, but with great dignity. Looking forward to it.
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Again, I think the kids have seen it, and I’ve seen it a few times. I’m not excited about watching it, but I’m not ruling it out.
The Trouble with Angels (1966)
In my head, this is mushed in with The Bells of Saint Mary’s and other goofy, disposable Catholic kitsch, but Damien says there’s something more to it. So let’s find out!
Babette’s Feast (1987)
It turns out Damien hasn’t seen this! It’s very hard to find a movie he hasn’t seen.
I haven’t seen this movie since college. I remember it as weird, funny, beautiful, moving, and nice and dark so the subtitles actually show up. Also, it’s not about priests or sisters, which makes it a standout on this list.
The Mission (1986)
I haven’t seen this since college but a few scenes have stayed with me. Probably just for the older kids, right? It’s not actually high on my list, but I could be persuaded.
The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
Here’s one I know nothing about. Looks interesting. Anybody?
Damien and I have both neither seen this. (I know that sentence has some problems, but I’m on vacation. You know what I mean.) I guess I’ll sit and watch Victor Mature and Richard Burton try to out-act each other; twist my arm. I gather The Robe is essentially the movie they were making in Hail, Caesar (which I LOVED, by the way. We can watch that one after Easter, I guess.) I looked up a review and the first one makes scathing reference to “leftist Hollyweird,” and the second one is a complaint that it’s revisionist Christianity because it doesn’t make the Jews look bloodthirsty enough. Yeah, you know what, we’re watching it.
Lilies of the Field
Another movie I know nothing about. I have never actually seen a Sidney Poitier movie, and that ain’t right. I gather this is about a Baptist trying to out-Bible a Mother Superior, and failing. I’m in.
I know this isn’t unusual or anything, but I will always give Martin Scorsese movies a chance.
Probably another one for teens and up.
Passion of the Christ is out this year, although I think it’s great. I’ve seen it often enough that I can call it up in my memory, and the older kids are mad at us for making them watch it at one point, so we’re taking a pass; may revisit in future years. I did review it here, and defend it against accusations that it’s gratuitously violent and inherently anti-Semitic.
There Be Dragons.
Okay, what do you think? Have you seen these movies? Are there any egregious gaps on my list? The kids insist we watch The Ten Commandments during Holy Week most years, thereby getting our Vitamin Heston infusion for the year.