Disclaimer: I was asked by Graf-Martin Communications on behalf of Elevation Pictures to write a blog post about Fatima in return for watching a preview screening free of charge.
A couple of weeks ago, I watched a preview screening of the new movie Fatima, which will be available to watch on demand from 28th August 2020.
For those of you who don’t already know the story of the apparitions of Fatima, I’ll give a very brief summary. In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared several times to three children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in a small village in Fatima, Portugal. You’ll have to watch the film to find out more 😉
The film tells the children’s story from the point of view of Lucia, the eldest of the three, who later became a cloistered nun in Coimbra and shared her experience in her memoirs.
Fatima focuses on the struggle the three children, and particularly Lucia, went through to be believed, which I had never really appreciated before. The Catholic Church always makes very thorough investigations into any supposed apparitions, as it ought to, but I wasn’t aware of the complex political pressures on the Portuguese Church at the time. For me, this was the most revealing and thought-provoking part of the whole film. The courage and unwavering faith of the children in the face of pressure from family, friends, politicians and even the Church is truly inspiring.
My husband and I both enjoyed the film, and it inspired us to do some more reading about Fatima afterwards, which I hope it does for everyone who watches it.
We thought that the acting was good and I found the relationship between Lucia and her mother (played by Lúcia Moniz, aka Colin Firth’s love interest, Aurelia, in Love Actually) especially compelling. It added depth and emotion to the difficulties the children faced when trying to tell their story and be believed. I would have liked to see more of how their relationship developed at the end of the film. I also appreciated the complexity of the mayor’s character and attitude towards the children – it would have been easy to make him into the villain of the piece but the performance is much more nuanced than that.
The scenery also plays a part in making the disbelief of some of the villagers more relatable. The place of the apparitions is now a major pilgrimage site, which I was lucky enough to visit a good few years ago, with large white basilicas surrounding a central piazza. But the landscapes of the film are barren and harsh – why would the Virgin Mary choose to appear there of all places? And to some illiterate peasant children?
My children (almost four and almost two) are too young to appreciate the message of Fatima at the moment, (and some of the scenes are a bit too frightening!) but I will definitely want to watch it with them later. I think it could lead to some really interesting discussions around obedience (particularly when obedience to God is seemingly at odds with obedience to our parents or superiors), faith and how we show our love for the Blessed Virgin.
I’d definitely recommend watching this film, as a family or on your own. Even if you’re not Catholic and have never heard of Fatima before, it’s an interesting look into a very tumultuous time in European history. In 1917, we were three years into one of the bloodiest (and most pointless) conflicts in the history of Europe, World War I. Hundreds of thousands of young men from around the world had been sent to die, and thousands more would join them before the end of 1918. There was a lot going on and the political stakes were high.
Fatima will be available to watch in Canada on demand from 28th August 2020.
If you watch it, let me know what you think!