THÉRÈSE

"Uninspired Portrait of a Saint"

Quality:
Content: +1 Discernment required for young children.
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

THÉRÈSE tells the story of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a French nun who led a brief life of piety. Her diary described her “little way” of small kindnesses which reveal the love and splendor of Jesus. Despite its strong Christian worldview full of prayer, scripture and a lot of Roman Catholic elements, this movie is a confusing, uninspired tribute. Because the direction and script are muddled, it is occasionally confusing if Thérèse is experiencing a holy vision or just possessed. The acting is akin to what you might find in a theme park.

Not even the most naïve Sunday School classes would buy into this movie. Nothing about it feels real or relevant. If filmmakers want to tell a Christian story, they have an obligation beyond making it “acceptable” – they have to make it interesting and alive so that it can actually move people. The Gospel moves people; it is a powerful document even to those who do not believe. The goal should not be any lower for filmmakers. A movie like THÉRÈSE will bore most Christians and never reach secular audiences. That’s a shame, and a waste of an opportunity.

Content:

(CCC) Very strong Christian worldview that involves prayer, scripture, Christian imagery, talk of heaven, and Jesus’ forgiveness, also with a lot of Roman Catholic content about nuns, visions of Mary and good deeds that sanctify.

GENRE: Drama/Religious Biography

More Detail:

THÉRÈSE tells the story of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who was born in the French countryside in 1873 and died in 1897. Her diary was published two years after her death. It describes her “little way” of small kindnesses which reveal the love and splendor of Jesus. She lived a pious life, and the Vatican canonized her fewer than 30 years after her death for her inspiration and intercession. Unfortunately, this film project is a confusing, uninspired tribute.

THÉRÈSE begins with young Thérèse and her sisters sitting beneath a shady tree with their parents. The family is having a pleasant afternoon with the sun bright and birds singing. The softly spoken child puts her head in her mother’s lap and says:

“Mommy, I hope you die soon.”

Collectively, the family gasps. Her father asks, “What are you saying, Thérèse!”

The child explains: “So you can go to heaven!”

If you did not laugh at that exchange, or wonder if you should laugh, then you might enjoy this movie. Most audiences will find it too artificial, too wooden, too cornpone, too out of touch, too amateur to enjoy.

That Thérèse is so dedicated to Jesus is of course inspirational, but the film’s power to move us is severely hindered by its amateur quality. Because the direction and script are muddled, it is occasionally confusing if Thérèse is experiencing a holy vision or just possessed. The acting is akin to what you might find in a theme park exhibition.

Not even the most naïve Sunday School classes would buy into this movie. Nothing about it feels real or relevant. If filmmakers want to tell a Christian story, they have an obligation beyond making it “acceptable” – they have to make it interesting and alive so that it can actually move people. The Gospel moves people. It is a powerful document even to those who do not believe. The goal should not be any lower for filmmakers. A movie like THÉRÈSE will bore most Christians and never reach secular audiences. That’s a shame, and a waste of an opportunity.

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