THE APPARITION (2018)

"Ambiguous View of Faith, Truth and Reality"

Quality:
Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

THE APPARITION, a French movie, will intrigue both the believer and non-believer alike. Jacques, a French journalist, is the stereotypical agnostic. He thinks there’s something out there, but isn’t sure. The Vatican calls him to lead a canonical investigation into a claim of a vision of the Virgin Mary by a 16-year-old girl, Anna. Jacques must put aside his religious indifference to search for the truth. In his pilgrimage to uncover the truth about Anna’s vision, Jacques confronts his own beliefs regarding faith, and his beliefs are shaken in more ways than he realizes.

Set in Rome, THE APPARITION has some beautiful cinematography that enhances this drama about truth, faith and how the two intertwine. The cast delivers compelling performances, but the slow story leaves viewers wondering to the very end if Anna’s telling the truth or if she’s a liar. The movie contends that discovering truth lies somewhere in the middle between finding hard evidence and pure faith. One scene of implied violence and a couple obscenities make THE APPARITION relatively clean, but brief nudity and two lewd references warrant extreme caution.

Content:

(PaPa, FR, CC, HH, Ho, Ab, L, S, NN, D, MM): Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements: Mixed pagan worldview about an alleged vision of the Virgin Mary by a teenage girl who says Mary told her, “I hear the cries of the world” and asked her to take care of the poor and suffering, and to build a church, but the movie wavers between believing the girl’s vision and not believing it, as a Vatican committee led by an agnostic journalist investigates the girl’s claims, plus there’s a homosexual reference, and people exploit the girl’s vision for material gain; Foul Language: Two obscenities (including an “s” word and an “h” word); Sex: One reference to premarital sex, and one reference to homosexuality; Nudity: Upper female nudity in one scene; Alcohol Use: No alcohol use; Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse: Four scenes of someone smoking but no drugs; and, Miscellaneous Immorality: Moderate level of miscellaneous immorality such as lying, moral relativism, hypocrisy, bad role models, and a relativistic view of truth is expressed.

More Detail:

THE APPARITION is a French drama about a lapsed Catholic journalist whose agnostic beliefs are shaken while investigating a teenage girl’s claims of seeing the Virgin Mary.

A journalist for a daily French newspaper, Jacques Mayano, is mourning the death of his photographer friend after becoming the victim of a bombing. Suffering from temporary hearing loss, Jacques is summoned by Monsignor Vissis to meet in Rome. Once there, he learns the Monsignor wants him to investigate an apparition that a 16-year-old girl had of the Virgin Mary in the Cabarat region of southern France two years ago. Although most of these claims go unsubstantiated, this one has gained the interest of many pilgrims who come to the site of the vision. The site of the vision has become a chaotic scene, so the Vatican has asked Jacques to lead an official investigation into the truth of the girl’s claims.

Anna, the girl claiming she had the apparition, along with an overbearing Franciscan priest, Father Borrodine, sent to take care of the matter, have suddenly cut off communication with the Vatican. Father Borrodine wants to start his own church with Anna. He also refuses to turn over a bloodstained cloth Anna claimed she found at the site of the vision.

Setting off to find out more information, Jacques discovers this isn’t the only apparition the church has dealt with over the years. From 1962 to 1965, four Spanish girls claimed to also have apparitions in Spain and hundreds of pilgrims showed up to see it. However, that was ruled a sham by the church because it couldn’t be proven.

Jacques sets out not only prove if Anna is psychologically sound, but also that her apparition is doctrinally true and isn’t the work of the Devil. Jacques meets Anna, and she tells him about the apparition. Witnessing a soft white light, she saw a beautiful woman, the Virgin Mary, who tells her, “I hear the cries of the world” and asks Anna to take care of the poor and suffering, and to build a church, one of welcome and prayer.

As Jacques gets closer to the truth, interest in Anna grows. She’s interviewed on television and is the subject of news articles, as well as having a full physical and psychological exam to see if she’s well. Jacques discovers Anna has had a rough life, being put in several foster homes throughout her life. She is closest with her roommate, Meriem, who fled to Syria with her boyfriend, Pavel, to have his baby.

While Jacques questions if Meriem is still alive, Anna’s health declines. While his head tells him it’s all fabrication, his deep concern for Anna tells him there’s more to her story than what she’s telling him. As Jacques uncovers the truth behind Anna’s claims, he uncovers more than just the truth about Anna. He also uncovers the truth about himself and a new spiritual world he never knew existed.

Set in Rome, THE APPARITION has some beautiful cinematography that enhances this drama about truth, faith and how the two intertwine. The cast delivers compelling performances, but the slow developing story leaves viewers wondering to the very end if Anna is telling the truth or if she’s a liar. The movie contends that discovering truth lies somewhere in the middle between finding hard evidence and pure faith. One scene of implied violence and a couple obscenities make THE APPARITION relatively clean, but one scene involving brief nudity and two lewd references warrant extreme caution.

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