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.