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PADRE PIO

"Depressing, Disturbing Movie About a Patron Saint’s Struggles with Satan"

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What You Need To Know:

PADRE PIO stars Shia LaBeouf as a famous Roman Catholic friar, Padre Pio. Set in the wake of World War I, the movie is about a small Italian town dealing with the tragedy and grief of war, as well as the fascist government that rules their village. Pio does his best to point people to Christ, but he deals with his own dark, inner turmoil that could jeopardize his ministry. In intense fashion, the movie shows Padre Pio’s greatest temptations and struggles with Satan.

PADRE PIO lacks focus and contains excessive nudity. The movie acts as an art-piece rather than a biography. While it does contain some moments of prayer, scripture and faith, the movie’s tone is dark and hopeless. It focuses more on Pio’s inner torment and struggles with Satan than on his ministry to the people in the village. Also, the cinematography in PADRE PIO is distracting and lacks polish. PADRE PIO is a jumbled mess of theology, sin, politics, and despair. It contains disturbing scenes of violence and sexual perversion and lust. Media-wise moviegoers will skip PADRE PIO.

Content:

(CC, ACAC, BB, PaPa, HoHo, L, VV, SS, NNN, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Some strong Christian elements that include prayer, communion, church, scripture, and references to God and Jesus Christ, and strong anti-fascist elements, marred by overly graphic portrayals of title character’s inner battle with Satan for his soul and a scene of excessive nudity, plus a woman confessions homosexual pedophile attraction for a little girl

Foul Language:
Two “f” words used in a confession booth, plus an “ah” obscenity

Violence:
Strong violence with some blood shown includes nightmare sequences feature frenetic camera movements and some intense imagery, the fascist government works a man until he collapses and dies, the fascist government guns down innocent people, and man tells priest he’s committed atrocities against women (the confession haunts the priest later)

Sex:
In confession, a woman confesses she has sexual feelings for young girl (there’s some graphic description of what she finds attractive), and a woman sexually poses in front of Mary statue

Nudity:
Full frontal female nudity when a naked woman sexually poses in front of Mary painting in a disturbing scene, and a priest is shown naked from behind as he cries out to God for help

Alcohol Use:
No alcohol use

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs;

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Title character suffers from disturbing hallucinations.

More Detail:

PADRE PIO is actor Shia LaBeouf’s first movie since his unceremonious exit from acting. Sadly, PADRE PIO is not the “comeback” movie many were hoping for the veteran actor.

The movie opens with the famed Catholic friar Pio arriving in a small Italian village. The townspeople are eager to greet their loved ones who served in World War I, but many are met with the tragic news that their husband, brothers or fathers have died in battle.

Pio asks God to give him courage to minister to a group of people who are fearful of the fascist Italian government and grieving for their loved ones. The town’s mayor is overthrown by Gerardo, who enforces the strict Italian government rules and forces the townspeople to work to the point of exhaustion and death.

Meanwhile, a small group of rebels form a plan to take back what’s rightfully theirs and dethrone their cruel superiors. However, as they face physical threat, the people also go to the church to talk about their inward struggles with Pio and the other friars.

Pio is weighed down by his own inner turmoil, and a battle rages within him between his desire to trust God and the heaviness of temptation and grief. In various nightmares, Pio faces off against the Devil, who sometimes takes the form of a fearsome dog or a naked woman.

The movie is more about the fascist Italian government and its poor treatment of the people that Pio’s ministry directly impacts. The movie is not an autobiography of Pio, but rather an artistic portrayal of temptation and faith.

However, this portrayal contains some scenes with intense foul language in church during a confession, and an especially abhorrent scene where a naked woman licks a painting of Mary in a sexual manner. In an effort to cast Pio as a man battling for his faith, the movie dives deep into despair, darkness and hopelessness, but this black theme is never relieved.

There are some examples of prayer, communion and other Catholic liturgy throughout the movie. There is one scene with a portrayal of a miracle performed by Pio. However, these Christian elements neither command the largest weight of the movie’s theme and tone, nor are prevalent enough to overcome disturbing scenes of excessive nudity and violence.

PADRE PIO is a bleak art-piece that suffers from a lack of focus. If the title of the movie did not include Pio’s name, it would be fair for a viewer to assume Pio is a side character in a depressing look into Italy after World War I. Moreover, the camera work and acting are off-putting. Despite taking place in Italy, none of the characters speak Italian.

The movie wants to represent the darkness of mankind’s heart but fails to ever allow the audience a breath of hope or Gospel truth. While not entirely blasphemous like THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, PADRE PIO is a jumbled mess of theology, sin, politics, and despair.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.