THERE BE DRAGONS Add To My Top 10
Authentic and Compelling
Release Date: May 06, 2011
Genre: Historical Drama
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 120 minutes
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Roland Joffé
Executive Producer: None
Writer: Roland Joffé
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Meyer Gottlieb, President
Samuel Goldwyn Films
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The movie opens with a journalist named Robert given the assignment of investigating the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá and in the process finds out the true and deeply disturbing story of his father, Manolo, who grew up with Josemaría.
As young boys, Josemaria and Manolo were close friends. Twisted by his father’s aloofness, wealth, the stress of fighting the unions that killed his father, Manolo becomes a self-centered, selfish individual willing to do anything, including kill the person he loves the most when he serves as a spy for the Fascists in the Spanish Civil. What is at stake is Manolo’s salvation. In many ways, he is an archetypal villain.
Josemaria is Manolo’s best friend, until Manolo’s bitterness and envy triumph over their friendship. Although Josemaria can easily get swept up in the same human failings as Manolo, instead he discovers the love of God and grows close to God while perceiving the biblical truth that Jesus died for everyone who accepts him as Lord and Savior and the other biblical truth that God loves all of our labors, no matter how insignificant, as long as they are dedicated to Him through kindness, patience and the other biblical character traits. In other words, Josemaria discovers that God takes joy in our labors, just as Luther realized several hundred years before him.
This realization inspires Josemaria to create Opus Dei, or God’s Work, where people who are not clerics can join together as individuals or married couples, to dedicate themselves to God’s work in their everyday lives. Throughout this spiritual growth, Josemaria’s passion remains to lead Manolo back to Christ.
Director Roland Joffe surrounds Josemaria with fictional characters and deals with universal themes of love, betrayal and redemption over many years that include the wartime violence of the Spanish Civil. There are some wonderful theological reflections and some overt conversions.
THERE BE DRAGONS reaches far beyond the Catholic audience and has only a few Catholic religious moments, including a brief flagellation scene. Thus, a broad range of Christians should appreciate this movie.
There is wartime violence and some point blank pistol executions, but these are filmed in the least offensive manner possible. Also, there is a love interest, who is sleeping with several revolutionaries to further the cause of the revolution, but nothing is shown. Finally, there are several light obscenities, one of which is at the end in the midst of a powerful conversion scene. This detracts from the power of the climatic moment, but fits in with the characters.
Foolishly, the Communist revolutionary leader says, “Wait for you on the other side,” while he’s dying. Since Communists are materialists, they don’t believe in an afterlife.
To sum up, THERE BE DRAGONS is a powerful movie that gives a moving insight into the life of an important Christian servant.
THERE BE DRAGONS is compelling and authentic. Despite the Catholic background, a broad range of Christians should appreciate this movie. There’s wartime violence and some point blank executions, but these are filmed in the least offensive manner possible. Also, there’s a love interest who sleeps with several revolutionaries to further the revolution, but nothing is shown. Finally, there are several light obscenities. THERE BE DRAGONS is a powerful movie that gives a moving insight into the life of an important Christian servant.