director: Marco Pontecorvo (pa-ra-da)
starring: stephanie gill, lucia moniz, Goran Visnjic and harvey keitel
REVIEWER: lyall carter
In 1917, three children report witnessing multiple appearances of the Virgin Mary.
In times like these we could all use a little hope, faith and love. For the fervent believer or the most doubtful skeptic, Fatima is a compelling true story that not only leaves the audience with deep questions of faith but a little hope as well.
In 1917, outside the parish of Fátima, Portugal, a 10-year-old girl and her two younger cousins witness multiple visitations of the Virgin Mary, who tells them that only prayer and suffering will bring an end to World War I. As secularist government officials and church leaders try to force the children to recant their story, word of the sighting spreads across the country, inspiring religious pilgrims to flock to the site in hopes of witnessing a miracle. What they experience will transform their quiet lives and bring the attention of a world yearning for peace.
One of the most incredible aspects of Fatima is that this is a true story of three young children and their religious visions. Because these visions were experienced by children, it made it easier, in some sense, for adults to seek to exploit or deny those experiences. Often these kinds of stories are about an adult's faith experience, but the fact that this was about the innocence of a child’s belief added a deeper layer to the core of the story.
There are a few moments within the film that can drag ever so slightly, but the general thrust of the narrative and the themes and questions it poses of us will leave you with plenty to ponder long after you leave the cinema.
Stephanie Gil's incredible performance as Lucia, the main girl in the trio of children, which is reminiscent of the child performances of Paquin and Castle Hughes. It is extremely nuanced in its conviction and childlike innocence and is a wonder to behold.
Although there are a few moments that can drag ever so slightly, Fatima is a compelling true story that not only leaves the audience with deep questions of faith but a little hope as well.