Full of Grace
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Full of Grace is not a motion picture but a series of stained glass windows connected, like all stained glass, with a great deal of lead in the story of the last days of Mary, the mother of Jesus. When this works, Full of Grace is powerful. Sadly, there is too little stained glass and too much leaden pacing.
If you demand that a film entertain you, avoid Full of Grace. If you wish to see something beautiful and thoughtful, and are not too sleepy, then this is an excellent movie to provoke discussion and reflection. What was it like as the eyewitnesses to Jesus began to die? What was the relationship between those with memories of Jesus in the flesh and those who only knew Jesus through being “born again”? The film raises these questions but gives no easy answers: a feature, not a problem.
Mary and Peter are the main characters, and their dialog betrays a bias toward experience over doctrine. Too many people are trying to understand Jesus instead of know Him. There is truth there, but it sits uneasily on the need to clarify genuine difficulties those who did not physically see the Lord are having.
The film has not a single amusing moment, and theologically it has something to offend everyone who wishes to be offended. Mary dies, and we see her body heading to a tomb to worry Roman Catholics; but then Peter clearly is or should be the head of the Church, giving the Orthodox and Protestants worries.
There is also a great deal of beauty, genuine piety, and a splendid performance as Mary by Bahia Haifi. In a better world, a great performance such as this would get noticed for an Oscar: She is that good. Writer and director Andrew Hyatt gives us a script that is ponderous at times and a pace that is too slow.
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