Fátima – Film Review

Palace Electric Canberra
113 min, rated M

At a time when many people are craving a miracle, the timing of the release of Fatima is interesting.

It’s set during World War 1, which was, of course, followed by the deadly so-called  Spanish Flu pandemic, with which many comparisons are now being made.

View the trailer of Fátima

Fatima is a story about the power of faith. It is a story within a story, based on real events.

In modern-day Portugal, author and noted sceptic Professor Nichols (Harvey Keitel) visits a convent in the riverside city of Coimbra, where Sister Lúcia (Sônia Braga), an elderly nun, recounts the story of her role in an historic event.

In 1917, when outside the parish of Fátima, Portugal, a 10-year-old girl and her two younger cousins witness multiple visitations of the Virgin Mary. She tells them that only prayer and suffering will bring an end to World War 1. As secularist government officials and Church leaders try to force the children to recant their story, word of the sighting spreads across the country, inspiring religious pilgrims to flock to the site in hopes of witnessing a miracle.

The conversations between the pragmatic academic and the spiritual ascetic illuminate a decades-old mystery and set the stage for a story that has fascinated millions for more than a century.

While this film will appeal to many for its subject matter and its exploration of the power of faith, and while the performances of the children are noteworthy, I confess that my own reaction was to check on the science of the 1917 solar event and to read the variety of accounts of the reported ‘miracle’. I found myself much more in the shoes of the sceptical academic than those of the ascetic nun.

The message of the importance and desirability of peace is one with which I can easily identify, however, and the daily reporting to the mothers of the dead in the market square was for me the most poignant part of the film.

Fatima is directed by Marco Pontecorvo (Pa-ra-da, “Game of Thrones”) from a script by Pontecorvo, Valerio D’Annunzio and Barbara Nicolosi. The film stars Joaquim de Almeida (“Queen of the South”), Goran Višnjić (Beginners), Stephanie Gil (Terminator: Dark Fate) and Lúcia Moniz (Love, Actually), with Sônia Braga (Aquarius) and Harvey Keitel (The Piano, The Irishman). Original music is by Paolo Buonvino (Fathers & Daughters, Quiet Chaos with a performance by Andrea Bocelli.

Thanks to nedco for the opportunity to preview the film.

Information and booking https://www.palacecinemas.com.au/movies/fatima/