[Sidebar] The Worcester Phoenix
May 3 - 10, 2001

[Movie Reviews]

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A Question of Faith

From director Tim Disney comes a piece of drivel that takes itself way too seriously. In a monastery in Northern California, complete with bucolic vineyards and smiling Mexican migrant workers, a group of monks pray, study, grow grapes, and make wine. One day Brother Anselm (Martha Hackett) receives an annunciation visit from the archangel Gabriel. At first ridiculed after he shares his story, Anselm finds his credibility improved when it's discovered that he not only has turned into a woman but is pregnant. Must be a miracle.

Sad young brother William (The English Patient's Naveen Andrews) becomes Anselm's companion and Brother Francis (Paul Guilfoyle) his/her counselor, but Brother Adrian (Malcolm in the Middle's Daniel Von Bargen) decides he/she is a tool of Satan. Meanwhile, the monastery doctor (Joe Spano, wondering what movie he wandered into) promises things he can't, uh, deliver. If Disney's story had been laden with camp or more magic realism, it might have been watchable. But the heavy-handed direction and syrupy score make this a Job-like trial; it's not about faith but about suffering.

-- Peg Aloi

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