Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Saint Movies Should Be More Like A Man for All Seasons

Hello, all! I have been away from my blog for far too long I'm afraid, between school, graduation (whee!), and summer work and summer projects. But that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking of things to write about and post on here! I've got a couple of posts I've been mulling over but I am having difficulty organizing my thoughts so I am procrastinating until I'm ready to write them.  In the meantime, I have been doing a lot of summer reading which has been wonderful! I rely heavily on my summers for reading since I am often too tired to pick up a book for pleasure when I am in the middle of school.  I used to read a lot, but when I started college, that quickly fell to the side, so over the past two years I have been trying to rework the habit back into my life.

I've read some amazing books this past summer that were what I would call life-changing, the first being Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which was absolutely brilliant and should be required reading for any human being (along with Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited). I also finally got around to reading Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons, which is technically a play, not a novel. I had seen the film version of the play starring Paul Scofield several years ago so I was already familiar with the story, and while watching the play/film is ultimately the better way to experience this work, I was glad to have read the play alone. The film version is largely true to the story save for the omission of a couple scenes (though they included all of the right ones).

Paul Scofield as St. Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons
One of my favorite things about this work is that A Man for All Seasons is a beautifully crafted story of a saint written by a man who admits he is far from a devout Christian. The thing is, Robert Bolt wasn't trying to write a story of a "Catholic" martyr -- he was simply telling the truth about a man who was true to himself and to his beliefs. I fear that if a Catholic company tried to tell the story of St. Thomas More, it would be a disaster. While they might have good intentions, far too often the "form" (the script, the acting, the production...) is sacrificed because they believe the content matter will suffice, resulting in another cheap movie that we maybe watch once to learn a little about the saint but would never say, "Now THAT was a GREAT movie!" Sad, but true. Why can't more saint movies be like A Man for All Seasons? If Catholics want to convert pagans to the truth, they need to make their faith attractive to them. If Catholics want to inspire people to be like the saints, they need to tell their stories beautifully.

No comments: