“Les Innocentes,” Has Lessons on Religion


Movie Review: “The Innocents,” Directed by Anne Hathaway, 115 minutes. In French and Polish with English subtitles.

We always stay until the last movie credits have rolled. As we left, one of the ushers picking up cups and popcorn sacks asked “How’d you like it?” I told him that we loved the film, but weren’t sure that younger people would, because there was no action. It was pretty much all talking and walking back and forth through the winter bleakness.

You can always tell a really good art experience, because you keep talking about it afterward. The story takes place at the end of World War II at a convent in Poland. A French Red Cross medical assistant decides to help with some of the war’s ongoing tragedies that are complicated by dark and archaic religious secrecy.

Do You Suffer for Religious People?

Do you feel sorry for people who willingly suffer because of their religion? Do you relate to the person who voluntarily dons the torturous hair shirt? Do you anguish along with the flagellant? Is your flesh mortified along with theirs?

Or do you just think they’re nuts and at least partially to blame for causing their own problems?  You’re certain to confront those feelings if you buy a ticket for this one.

Personally, I do suffer for religious people. Not just when they’re undergoing horrible tragedies but all the time. If they weren’t so religious, they’d spend less time looking for their own faults and shortcomings. If they weren’t so religious, they’d have a better idea of what’s happening in the world and how to deal with it. Whether you feel sorry for them or not, there isn’t much you can do.

So it is with the French medical assistant. She’s a materialist and a communist, and she is just as committed, more committed, to making a better world than the nuns in the dilemma. Same as you, same as me, she does what she can.

My movie buddy and I loved the film because it made us think and feel. We wish the same for you.

–Gene Lantz

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