François Ozon’s powerful film is enraged by the injustice and callousness of the Catholic Church, and rightfully so.
Ozon is not an overtly political filmmaker. But this important film – a necessary companion piece to the Oscar-winning ‘Spotlight’ – looks at the abuse carried out by catholic priests –and the willingness of the Church to overlook the crimes – successfully balances the personal with a wider overview of injustice on an industrial scale. The film focuses primarily on three men. Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud), François (Denis Ménochet), Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud) come from very different backgrounds and the impact of abuse has varied in the way that they have been able to continue with their lives. But they are all haunted by the exploitation of one man. As the focus on the priest’s crimes gains ground, so Ozon expands his canvass, detailing the neglect by the church of what their role should have been – protecting the young. Unfolding at a breakneck pace, ‘By the Grace of God’ is both a suspenseful drama and a critique of a system that failed.
★★★★★ "It has a burning momentum that makes your heart pound." Tim Robey, The Telegraph
★★★★ "Remarkable." Kevin Maher, The Times
★★★★ "Sincere, thoughtful and immaculately acted." - Ian Freer, Empire
★★★★ "It's impossible to be unmoved by the story it's telling" - Phil de Semlyen, Time Out
★★★★ "A thoughtful, fast-paced, and immaculately acted procedural" - David Ehrlich, Indiewire
BBFC rated 15 - child sexual abuse references, strong language