“Priest” (1994) is a difficult movie tackling a difficult subject. It holds up for scrutiny the many conflicts of being a modern-day Roman Catholic priest. Upon arrival at his new parish, Father Pilkington (Linus Roache) quickly becomes embroiled in a series of no-win situations. His fellow priest (Tom Wilkinson) is having a clandestine affair with the maid; a young parishioner reveals while in the confessional that she is the victim of incest; and he himself is caught in compromising circumstances in an ongoing homosexual relationship. The ready answers of Father Greg’s conservative version of Roman Catholic faith appear to be no match for the very real problems of real life in his very ordinary English parish. A crisis of faith ensues for Father Greg. His fellow clergy and the parish in general are dragged along unwittingly and unwillingly.
Although most of the crises in the film revolve around the depiction of a mangled sexuality, on a more global level, the sex is just a window through which to see more deeply into the soul, into what it means to be human. In spite of the brouhaha that the film engendered when originally released, this film endures in its unflinching look at a certain situation in the Church today. That being said, the film is not totally devoid of either the hope or the redemption that the Church is supposed to be famous for. Like the rest of what is depicted in the film, it’s just not that simple.
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See the video trailer for "Priest" (1994). See also the climactic final scene of the movie here.