: : : Priest

Story

Despite its title, forget about finding this controversial drama on the Vatican's screening list. The film explores a provocative checklist of religious taboos--celibacy, incest, sexual abuse, homosexuality, the debatable secrecy of the confessional--as director Antonia Bird delivers a bold condemnation of what she views as the outdated politics and harmful nature of Catholic doctrine. The story concerns the ideologically strained relationship between two clergymen, the misleading conservative Father Greg (Linus Roache) and his older and more practical colleague, Father Matthew (Tom Wilkinson). Upon arriving at his new Liverpool parish, Greg is shocked to learn that Matthew ignores celibacy and openly sleeps with his black housekeeper. Greg chooses to satisfy his earthly desires in a more secretive way. Sometimes, he likes to lose the cloth, grab a leather jacket, and pick up guys at the local gay pub. He's got other problems as well. While torturing himself with his own moral dilemma, he's hit with another, as during confession a young girl confides that her father is sexually abusing her at home. While this drags out the old "bound by secrecy" cliché of many religious melodramas, Bird uses it to bolster her theme of unwarranted secrecy in the face of faith and social scorn. Ultimately, both the priest and the girl are victims of their own fear, and must find courage to destroy it. Thankfully, Bird's wicked sense of humor keeps the film's tone from slipping into saccharine sentimentality, while Roache's intense performance and a honest, shattering finale rescue the film from swerving too far into shallow TV movie-of-the-week sensationalism. --Dave McCoy

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Linus RoacheFather Greg Pilkington
Tom WilkinsonFather Matthew Thomas
Robert CarlyleGraham
Cathy TysonMaria Kerrigan
Lesley SharpMrs. Unsworth
Robert PughMr. Unsworth
James EllisFather Ellerton
Christine TremarcoLisa Unsworth
Paul BarberCharlie
Rio FanningBishop
Jim R. ColemanFuneral Director
Bill DeanAltar Boy
Gilly ComanEellie Molloy
Fred PearsonPatrick
Jimmy GallagherMick Molloy
Anthony BoothTommy
Giuseppe MurphyMan in Lift
Kim JohnsonMrs. Gobshite
Keith ColeMr. Gobshite
Adrian LutyJehovah's Witness
Mandy WalshGuest at Wake
Stephanie RoscoeGuest at Wake
Ann Haydn-EdwardsGuest at Wake
Mike HaydnGuest at Wake
Bobby MartinoBobby
Victoria ArnoldGirl in Cofessional
Gareth PotsigBoy Car Thief
Ray WilliamsBoy with Stutter
Valerie LilleySister Kevin
Kevin KnapmanBoy at Beach (as Kevin Jones)
Michael AnaninsCharge Sergeant
Mickey JonesReporter (as Mickey Poppins)
Matyelok GibbsHousekeeper
John BennetFather Redstone
Charley WildeTommy's Child
Euan BlairTommy's Child
Rupert PearsonMan on Skateboard
Marsha ThomasonNurse
Mauricio VenegasChilean Band Leader

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Antonia Bird
  • Producer: Buena Vista
  • Length: 105 Min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaMar 24, 1995
    EuropeMar 17, 1995
    JapanJun 15, 1996
    AustraliaJun 10, 1995
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaMA
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaSep 7, 1999
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