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Review of Film Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

The Miracle of our Lady of Fatima is closely based (some liberties were taken) on the real events that took place in Portugal during 1917.

In 1917 Portugese society was facing many strains. The new Communist government was hostile to the Catholic Church creating a divide in the country between the more secular urban populations and traditional Catholic. Furthermore Portugal had recently been drawn into the Great War. It was admist this backdrop that 3 simple children reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary in pasture called the Cova da Iria ("Irene's Cove") near the village of Aljustrel, about a mile from Fátima. You felt the film presented a rather simplistic version of the political events, some reporters suggest it was portrayed through the eyes of a McCarthyite filter. However this isn’t a significant distraction because the film is primarily about the religious and spiritual experience of the Virgin Mary’s appearance.

The great strength of the film lies in the genuine and believable performances of the 3 children who were witness to the apparitions. In particular, the performance of a marvelous Susan Whitney, who played the oldest child Lúcia Abóbora dos Santos. She expressed a powerful radiance, beauty and soulfulness whilst retaining the innocence of a child caught up in the scepticism, cynicism and harsh realities of the political situation.

The film took the liberty of adding a fictional character to the story. Hugo the village idiot and joker plays a key role in the film of offering a humorous approach to a very intense story. In one way this works and helps the film slip into becoming overly sentimental. On the other hand you may feel it somehow detracts from the essence of the story, which is based on real events.

As a non Catholic I felt no problem with the subject of the film. At its heart is a spiritually inspiring story of how man can connect with the Divine. The Virgin Mary asked the children to say the rosary and work for an increase in devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. That was the message for those of a Catholic faith but the essence of greater devotion and praying for peace is a universal message for those of all religions and spiritual faiths.

There are obvious similarities with the Song of Bernadette, which is based on the true story of Bernadette of Lisieux and her visions at Lourdes. If anything the Song of Bernadette has a greater depth and scope to the film, but if you have an open mind to apparitions of Divine messengers then I would recommend "Our lady of Fatima.”

Richard is a member of Sri Chinmoy Centre in Oxford where he gives meditation classes.

Richard writes a blog and articles on spirituality

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