Laura Linney stars in an Irish comedy set in 1967 about a group of women confronting their past on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. The director talks about the trauma that Irish movies set in this timeframe tend deal with, and what he calls the “Lourdes Effect.”
Is the face of Christ visible in this film? After this cinematic pilgrimage, have we seen the Virgin? As with the pilgrims themselves, that may depend on whether we have eyes to see.
Given the inherently less dramatic structure, The Passion of Bernadette doesn’t “tell a story” the way the original film does, but the portrait of Bernadette’s unassuming heroic sanctity and occasional tart rejoinders remains moving and worthwhile.
Eschewing both the slickness and Hollywood sentiment of The Song of Bernadette and the speculative psychology of Alain Cavalier’s contemporary Thérèse, Delannoy’s unembellished, straightforward account seeks only to tell Bernadette’s story in a clear and compelling way.
Based on the historical novel by Jewish author Franz Werfel, the beloved classic The Song of Bernadette stands head and shoulders over most religiously themed fare from Hollywood’s golden age.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.