Mary (2005)


Just saw another great film at TIFF. Mary (2005)is written and directed by Abel Ferrara (King of New York and Bad Lieutenant). It stars Forest Whitaker, Juliette Binoche, Matthew Modine and Heather Graham. Forrest Whitaker is outstanding in his role as a Charlie Rose-like talk show host.

One of the producers was on hand for a Q&A after the film which is always interesting and insightful. More about this in a minute.

Part of the film deals with the awakening of faith in two of the main characters. Juliette Binoche’s character is an actor playing Mary Magdalene in a film. She becomes affected by her role and experiences some kind of spiritual awakening. This causes her to abandon a successful film career and follow God.

Forrest Whitaker plays a national talk show host that does a week-long TV special on the true meaning of Christ. He is not a believer in any faith which makes you question why he is interviewing monks and theologians. By the end of the film his character also turns to God when tragedy hits his family.

The producer of the film mentioned that people forget about God when things are going well in their lives—people want to “go and have lap dances and buy Gucci shirts” is how he put it. When things go wrong in our lives we tend to blame God and turn to him for help as Forrest Whitaker’s character does.

Several real theologians are interviewed in the film which was interesting. It’s almost like a mini-documentary within a film. Questions surrounding the lost gospels of Thomas and Mary are raised but I think Ferrara is dismissing them along with the need for yet another film about the Passion (a shot at Mel Gibson and others who profit from exploiting religion).

There are a lot of layers to this film that are sure to generate some intelligent discussion and debate. It probably won’t appeal to a lot of people but I enjoyed it and would love to see it again.

Posted in 2005 TIFF and Movie Reviews at 4:14 PM