| | Comments (8)

Well, I'm relieved to say that this wasn't nearly as awful as I had been led to expect from the previews and trailers. Not a masterpiece--and if you didn't like Thérèse before, this isn't likely to make you think more of her. In addition, things were taken out of context or recontextualized to make journal entries be something that is spoken in the course of the film. But apart from that kind of fiddling, what's here is true to the story.

Part of the difficulty is that it is very hard to sympathize with a poor little rich girl who had every advantage in the course of her upbringing and whose insistence upon early admission to Carmel must just as easily be viewed as headstrongness as it is desire to serve the Lord.

The movie tries to give us the whole of Story of a Soul and that may be in itself another difficulty. The book was not composed as one coherent history, but as at least three separate manuscripts. And there is much tha tThérèse said and thought that did not make it into Story of a Soul. As a result the film is episodic and depends upon the viewer to fill in many of the blanks. In addition, the director of the film has chosen to leave out those things that Thérèse accounts that might make both her and the film more palatable--her sudden temper tantrums, her own stubbornness and selfishness, and the interior of what hid behind the smile given to one of the more acerbic nuns. We are left with the outward drippings of piety and devotion, and this can make long work of a short story.

And when at last we come to the long dark night of Thérèse, it seems like another trip to the park. This most important aspect of Thérèse and her spiritual life is reduced to the level of one of her comments about dolls. Once again we get the pietistic Thérèse, suffering a minor discomfort rather pettishly.

I can say that I really enjoyed the film score tremendously, and despite the shot-on-video look of most of the film, it had some beautifully done moments.

Recommended for Thérèse-admirers only. I wouldn't recommend showing this to people who you want to get to admireThérèse, it really doesn't do her the justice needed for that kind of work.

Bookmark and Share


Does this refer to the version that (I think) out sometime during the '80s, or the latest version? And if refers to the latest version, what do you think of the 1980-something version?

Dear TSO,

Thank you, I was unaware that there were two. This review refers to the more recent. Are you sure the earlier one is not a filming of Mauriac's novel Therese Desqueyroux? I'll seek it out on netflix. Thanks for the heads-up.



Dear TSO,

Thanks for saying something. I put it in the Netflix queue and should have it sometime next week. I'll let you know what I think when I get it.



I believe TSO is refering to Thérèse (1986), a quiet and beautiful film by Alain Cavalier.

The movie seemed to me to lack any of the spiritual wealth of Terese's life.
It was a sweet, sad story, but had very little theology in it

Therese (1986) didn't seem very sweet to me, but then I haven't watched it since it came out. Movies have difficulty depicting the inner life since they work through showing everything.

I haven't seen either version so I thank the readers who have commented and also look forward to reading Steven's review.

I had considered going to see Therese in the theaters when it came out just to show my support, but a friend gave it much the same review as you did. I'm not necessarily a Therese fan myself (not that I'm opposed to her or dislike her; I'm just not an enthusiast -- different personalities and all) and I didn't think that the movie would have much to say to me. Looks like I was probably right about that. Too bad -- I hear that the St. Luke Productions stage shows are actually quite good. Some stories may be better suited to the theater than the big screen.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 13, 2006 11:31 AM.

Kairo was the previous entry in this blog.

Thérèse (1986) is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll