The film opens with the introduction of Professor Nichols (Harvey Keitel) who is writing a book about the topic of religion. He’s been travelling around the world, interviewing people who have had personal religious experiences. To complete his novel, the Professor meets with a nun. He is full of questions about an event that occurred in her past. As requested, she begins to discuss a significant life-changing moment that occurred in 1917.
The film then takes its audience back to 1917, in Fátima, Portugal. Instead of following the Professor, the film now follows a 10-year-old girl named Lucia (Stephanie Gil). Lucia is a shepherd who lives with her family, and her older brother is currently away fighting the War. Her family are quite religious Catholics and believe all things relating to the Catholic church. Lucia spends her days working in the fields and will often spend her spare time with her two younger cousins.
One day while Lucia is spending time with her two cousins in the fields, the three young children encounter a young woman who appears to be Virgin Mary. She speaks to the three children and gives them a message and instructions to be carried out. The three soon return home and share the events that have just occurred. As they reveal what they have witnessed, many people doubt them. Members in the Catholic Church and government also express frustration, accusing the children of making false claims. But many people within the community believe the children are telling the truth, and soon the children witness the impact of word spreading about outside of the community. People travel near and far to support these children and hope to have prayers answered. This film is based on True Events and the testimonies of many.
The children’s performances in this uplifting drama were positive, especially from the leading actress Stephanie Gil who plays Lucia. Based on the film’s themes, which are quite dramatic, I was quite satisfied with the results from all young performers in this film. The visuals within this film do feel somewhat basic, but were still good and depict the period the film is set in. I also personally enjoyed looking at the film sets, locations, and costume design, all of which were a strength for the movie.
Overall, Fatima is quite an uplifting drama film. Regardless of one’s faith, Fatima leaves its audiences with positive thoughts and its viewers thinking. The Children’s performances were also quite impressive, especially given the dramatic themes which would have been a real challenge for young actors to bring to life. The directing style feels basic but somewhat practical. Final verdict? This film is certainly worth a look.
Fatima (2020) is Now Available in Australian Cinemas
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Review Written by Peter Walkden