Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: St. Barbara

I thought about writing a review here about St. Barbara, so I would remember what I had seen in this movie, but I had recently read some reviews online of various books that I wanted to order.  So I proceeded over to Amazon and placed my order, and then decided to glance at any reviews there of the movie, St. Barbara.
I was underwhelmed by the couple of reviews I saw, which touched on historical slights in the movie.  None of those things mattered to me; I thought them unimportant, as I am sure the movie creators did also.  But they did create a beautiful movie, so I felt compelled to add my review to Amazon.  Rather than waste further time, I merely repeat it here:

Not to disagree with other reviewers, but I loved this movie. It made me cry, my own personal criteria of a deeply moving movie. When I first saw the subtitles, I thought: "Oh, no! Not another foreign movie with subtleties which are only understood by native speakers of the language!" I was right, but I was wrong. The subtleties are there, but they translate not in words, but in imagery. The acting and scenery of this film are beautiful. The subtitles are not distracting, but make you focus on each word --- no glancing at the clock or your I-phone or talking to your friends; you are absorbed into this movie, much like, I felt, The Passion movie. In fact, some images, like the wailing of the father over his daughter's death at the end seem taken right from The Passion.

I'd encourage you to focus not on "what REALLY happened to St. Barbara," but rather just the movie. It is a movie about love, a mother's, a friend's, and eventually, about God's love. You don't see any Christian evangelizing done, in fact you may wonder at the end why Barbara even became a Christian; no doctrine was preached to her. But it's not that kind of movie. If anything, it presents what was really happening back then, and what was a noticeable thing about Christians, during that period of wars and terror and man's abuse of his fellow man. The "strange," noticeable thing about Christians, as quoted by Roman historians, was: "See how they love one another." This movie showed how, initially, it was Christian love and sacrifice which made Barbara a convert.

In the movie's presentation of Roman citizens, I saw much of our society today. There were good people, there were laws intended to be good, and there was a state which said its laws, ANY laws, were supreme over any religion. And many good people couldn't understand why Christians wouldn't obey those laws, "made for their good." Many still don't understand today.


  1. Thank you for that discerning review! Often there is a deeper meaning which the bare bones of historical fact doesn't reveal.

  2. Thank you, Booklady. I've given away three copies so far, and all have said how moved they were --- one watched it twice before giving it back, so I could pass it on. Have two more on order --- likely will be on my Christmas gifts-to-give list next year.

  3. I absolutely loved this film. The portrayal of this beautiful Saint is so moving. My main vice is anger, but since watching this film...I feel ashamed at the movement of my soul toward its irascible nature. If the martyrs went to their deaths with such patience...then the petty things about which I worry are rightly deemed inconsequential...I have watched it twice on television, but have ordered it that I might watch it again. I have wept both times, and yes, I am a middle aged man. If only more beautiful things like this culd be made..instead of the corrupting garbage that Hollywood sad...for all of us in the mystical body..