22 February 2019.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD (GRÂCE À DIEU) ****
The prolific French director François Ozon is back with another masterwork – maybe his best and most sober film yet. In fact, it just won the Grand Jury prize at the Berlin film festival.
Different from his other brilliant, versatile works such as FRANTZ, POTICHE, 8 FEMMES or DANS LA MAISON, this one concerns the very serious subject of sexual molestation in the Catholic Church.
He has taken an actual case that is still ongoing in Lyon, portraying the three men who decided to pursue the priest who abused them as youngsters. This is heavy, troubling stuff and Ozon gives it the gravity and discretion needed to highlight the stages it takes to face what happened and should never be allowed to happen again. These are fragile yet courageous men who finally decided to bring their offender to justice when they discovered that he was still in the Church and still dealing with young boys.
Played by three fine actors – Melville Poupaud, Denis Menochet and Swann Arlaud – these very different characters find strength in their unity to try to penetrate the protective and secretive citadel that is the Catholic Church. This is an important film, and it will shake you to the core.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.