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Movie Review

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien also known as “Damiaan,” “Damião: O Santo De Molokai,” “Father Damien,” “Isä Damienin tarina,” “Molokai - historia ojca Damiana,” “Molokai - isä Damienin tarina,” “Molokai: Az átok szigete,” “Molokai: La historia del Padre Damián,” “Molokaj - Priča o ocu Demijanu,” “O ierapostolos”

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, some violence, brief sensuality and mild language.

Reviewed by: Christian St. John
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Biography Docudrama Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 57 min.
Year of Release:
1999
USA Release:
DVD: September 26, 2000
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Unapix Entertainment Productions

leprosy

mercy in the Bible

love

Issue of pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer


About hope

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Featuring: David Wenham, Kris Kristofferson, Peter O'Toole, Derek Jacobi
Director: Paul Cox
Producer: John Briley, Andy Howard, Grietje Lammertyn, Tarsicius Vanhuysse
Distributor: Unapix Entertainment Inc.

“a largely forgotten hero in Christian history”

Molokai is the true story of a priest who followed and fulfilled God’s calling on his life… even to the point of death. A truly wonderful and inspiring film about a largely forgotten hero in Christian history, “Molokai” stands with its head held high amongst the great films of all time.

The movie begins with the arrest of a young girl who has leprosy and her subsequent expulsion to the leper colony on the island of Molokai. Shortly after, young Father Damien volunteers to go to Molokai to take the message of Christ to a virtually lawless, inhumane society where young girls are used or forced into prostitution and alcohol is used to drown the pain of leprosy.

What follows is truly remarkable as Father Damien, filled with a Holy fire, sets about establishing a church and caring for those who are suffering. Some scenes that stand out include the following: In one scene Damien cuddles up to a young girl who is lying in “the shed,” a place where they take the dying, and whispers gently to her. Another scene stealer is the one where Damien kneels before a large crucifix and says “Lord, you ended your life at 33 and at 33 I begin mine.”

David Wenham plays Damien with such conviction and I was amazed that this was his first film. The rest of the cast plays their parts with passion including Kris Kristofferson as the Administrator of Molokai, Peter O'Toole as an Englishman who had been sent to Molokai years before and is now dying of leprosy, Derek Jacobi as a “practice not what you preach” priest and Sam Neill as the Prime Minister of Hawaii, a role he plays as coldly as Damien Thorne in “The Omen III”.

“Molokai” is not a Christian film (meaning made by Christian filmmakers), but it never shies away from the gospel message and holds Jesus in high regard (something not done often in Hollywood movies). The best part of “Molokai” was the fact that they played down Catholicism and moved more into the Christian sacrifice message (do as Jesus did) part of the story. I had never heard of Damien before watching this film, but plan to find out more about this true follower of Jesus Christ, a man willing to give his all for others.

Overall, this is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and I am so glad that I got to see this film. Very few films make me thankful for what I have, but, along with “Life is Beautiful,” this movie had me in tears and so thankful that I never have to go through what these men had to, and I pray none of you reading this have to either.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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