Visio Divina – Movie (Netflix): The Railway Man

September 2021 – Our film review by Peter Malone msc this month is:  The Railway Man.

Love your enemies. Easier said, not often done. One man who did was Eric Lomax, even though it took 50 years. He is The Railway Man (Thai-Burma Railway) of this film of a true story, based on Lomax’s autobiography. Continue reading

Visio Divina – Movie (Netflix): Gran Torino

August 2021 – Our monthly Visio Divina offering from Peter Malone Missionaries of the Sacred Heart – Australia is Gran Torino.
Something of a spirituality of growing old and perspectives changing. Clint Eastwood’s once-Dirty Harry detective is now a widower, Walt, retired in suburbia, discovering the Hmong neighbours that he does not understand but becoming involved in their troubles, taking a stand against thugs, defending these new friends with more than tolerance, giving his life for their safety. In his westerns, Clint Eastwood includes a great deal of Christ-like self-giving in death.

Continue reading

Visio Divina – Movie (Netflix): Evil Angels / A Cry in the Dark

July 2021 – Movie review by Peter Malone msc

A 1988 film, a challenging examination of conscience. It takes its audience back to Uluru, 1980, the disappearance of Azariah Chamberlain, a landmark piece of Australian history. The title was Evil Angels (echoes of the religious overtones and prejudice against Adventists). But, it sounded like a tough Bikie actioner to American ears, so overseas, it became ‘A Cry in the Dark’ and is now on Netflix under this title. It won many Australian Film Institute awards, the Catholic Office prize, and Best Actress for Meryl Streep in Cannes. Older audiences can watch the film again, perhaps amazed at the community divided for and against Lindy Chamberlain’s guilt, her media image, nastiness against Adventists, the trial, witnesses, evidence and its inadequacy, the verdict, imprisonment, exoneration, innocence. So, for younger audiences perhaps new to the story as well as older audiences, a challenge to harsh judgments, harmful, superficial gossip, at the expense of truth. See the trailer here.

Visio Divina – Movie (Netflix): Babette’s Feast

June 2021 – Movie Review by Peter Malone msc

We should never refuse an invitation to attend Babette’s Feast. A wonderful experience. This time the invitation comes from Netflix. Set in a 19th century Jutland village (and winner of Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, 1988), in a close community Protestant parish, now bequeathed by the pastor to his two unmarried daughters, disappointed in love. They have welcomed a refugee chef from Paris, Babette. When Babette wins the lottery, she immediately and spontaneously pays for a lavish feast, best quality food and wine shopping, relishing cooking former dishes. The community is ageing (rivalries and bickering). Their Puritanical spirituality suggests they attend but eat without enjoying. But, they succumb, wine rejoicing the heart, Babette happy, admission of hurt, forgiveness and reconciliation, everyone moving out into the square, joining hands, a dance of life. No doubt that this is a Eucharistic film, Eucharist as a divine banquet, union through generous self-giving.  See the trailer here.

Visio Divina

May 2021

For regular movie reviews by movie critic Peter Malone msc, visit our facebook page.

Movie title:  ‘Healing’

See the trailer here.

Not a religious documentary. Rather, a moving Australian drama (winner of the Catholic award for 2014), now on Netflix.

The accompanying theme in Healing is Redemption, the possibility for repentance, absolution, purpose of amendment and atonement, the key elements for reconciliation. In fact, the setting is a low security prison in rural Victoria. Don Hany plays a depressed prisoner, Hugo Weaving a case officer interested in rehabilitation. There is great beauty and tenderness in the storytelling and the imagery. The prisoner’s task is to care for and heal a wounded eagle (as well as begin to relate well to fellow prisoners, help healing them). Can the eagle soar again? Can the prisoner?

This kind of storytelling elicits our compassion for the prisoner, our hopes for his change of heart. And the questions arise about our own captivity by our failings, our sins, and our process of healing and redemption.

Movie title:  ‘Nomadland’

This month’s film, on the day of the 93rd Academy Awards, is Nomadland.

In centuries past, Morality Plays were very popular, even performed for a wide public on the steps of cathedrals. Now, we see contemporary Morality Plays on our screens, again available for the wide public.  But, not just for morality, but for our spiritual lives.

The past hero was called Everyman. In Nomadland (many awards and nominations), double Oscar-winner, Frances McDormand, plays Fern, a 21st century Everywoman. We can identify with Fern. She is middle-aged plus, a widow, a teacher, factory closures and depression hitting her Nevada town. She decides to go on the road in her trailer. She likes to work, takes on all kinds of jobs (Amazon mailouts, cooking, cleaning…). She is kind, a listener, meets a whole range of other nomads, older women, young men, on the road – and we listen to them, actual nomads, not actors. We enjoy their company.

We, the audience, are invited to share the life of this microcosm – and find a challenge to experience our own Nomadland (even if we live a quiet life at home, at work). How do we live our day-by-day journey? Authentically, with integrity? Those close to us, friends and acquaintances? Passers-by? Sharing our journey, sharing theirs?

Nomadland is a place, places of spiritual discovery of our true selves.

For more of Peter’s film reviews, click here.

Audio Divina

30 May 2021

We offer you something to listen to which may feed your soul.

Deep Listening is our passion. Heart of Life acknowledges the wonderful work of Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, and her Miriam Rose Foundation . We encourage you to listen to this amazing interview as she describes ‘dadirri’ – the art of deep spiritual listening. As ancient as 60,000 years old.

See our facebook page for more reflection resources.


We invite you to explore the reflections, texts and resources that we find helpful for our own spiritual journeys.  Visit our facebook page, or read the latest reflection by our director, Paul Beirne.