Thought-provoking Film Reviews

Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP

Sister Rose Pacatte, fsp, has been working for many years in the field of Media Literacy and promoting the dialogue between faith and culture through the Pauline Center for Media Studies. She has a new website where she is posting more in-depth feature film reviews on video: http://sisterrosemovies.com/  But my favorite posting (so far) is her description of why she reviews films. In just two minutes, she explains what we can do to evangelize the media culture: evangelizing both media-makers and media-consumers.

I’ve really only dabbled in commenting on films, and I’ve posted my thoughts on just a few films, but these simple film commentaries are my most popular blog posts. I’d like to propose several other excellent sites for film reviews that encourage the dialogue between faith and culture, starting with Sr. Rose’s sites:

Sr. Rose’s My Movies Blog (written reviews).

Sr. Rose’s On Faith and Media very short video reviews (about 1 minute each) at AmericanCatholic.org

Sr. Rose Goes to the Movies — Sr. Rose’s newest site for video reviews–still short, but giving more breadth and depth for each film

And this is the one I check most frequently:

Signis, the World Catholic Association for Communication  — posts the film reviews of Father Peter Malone, MSC. They are insightful, often witty, and written from the perspective of a faith-filled priest who not only loves film, but has written numerous books about theology and cinema. Father Malone covers a wide variety of films, so almost any title you look for, you can find.

(Note: Father Peter Malone and Sr. Rose Pacatte co-wrote Pauline Book & Media’s Lights, Camera, Faith! Movie Lectionaries series that pair a movie with each Sunday’s readings, as well as another volume that explores the Ten Commandments through film.)

Here are a few others that I check occasionally:
Christianity Today is the website of the evangelical magazine, and it presents thoughtful and timely film reviews from the perspective of Christian faith. You can also sign up and receive their free e-newsletter with all their reviews.

PopTheology “Poptheology.com examines the intersection of pop culture and theology, religion, and spirituality,” from a Christian stance. It is not strictly speaking a film review site, but includes many film and TV show reviews. Good for in-depth reflections on movies that have a lot to them.

Spirituality and Practice is a site I go to when I want to get a quick sense of the spiritual themes of a film, but it is much more than a film review site. Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, authors of Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Spiritual in Everyday Life, describe it as a “multifaith and interspiritual website devoted to resources for spiritual journeys.” The site offers multiple ways to support growth in spirituality from an interfaith perspective, especially its 37 spiritual practices, for which it suggests viewing particular films. I find their film (and DVD) recommendations very helpful, and when I am looking for a film with a particular spiritual theme, I will often visit their website.

SoulFood Movies writes about “films with a spiritual flavor,” reviewing or recommending films both new and old. I just found this site recently and am planning to check it out more frequently.

For parents who want a content advisory, Decent Films Guide, by  Steven D. Greydanus also offers insightful film reviews: “film appreciation and criticism informed by Christian faith,” is how he puts it. Of course, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also offers film reviews through the Catholic News Service.

Each of these sites takes a different approach to film, but I find all of them helpful when exploring the depth and complexity of particular films. I hope these are helpful. Where do you go to find helpful film reviews? Please feel free to share good resources in the comments or email me and I’ll post them.

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