By the Grace of God

By the Grace of God

François Ozon (2018)

137min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
François Ozon originally planned to make a documentary about the efforts of the Archdiocese of Lyons to stonewall on the abuse allegations made against Father Bernard Preynat. Instead, he has produced a sombre and intense drama that presents the case against Preynat with a blend of indignation and incredulity that is all the more effective for its restraint. While Tom McCarthy's Oscar-winning Spotlight (2015) focused on the Boston Globe's exposé of ecclesiastical wrongdoing, Ozon zeroes in on three members of self-help group La Parole Libérée ("Lift the Burden of Silence") who want the trauma from their childhood abuse by a trusted priest to be acknowledged by the perpetrator and his protector, Cardinal Barbarin. The clerics are ably played by Bernard Verley and François Marthouret, but Ozon's dismay at their evasiveness is as damning as his compassion for the victims is keenly considered. By giving whistleblowing lawyer Alexandre Guérin (Melvil Poupaud), atheist François Debord (Denis Ménochet) and dysfunctional epileptic Emmanuel Thomassin (Swann Arlaud) their own aesthetic registers to establish differing approaches to reaching a resolution, Ozon is able to deliver something all the more affecting and compelling.

Cast & Crew

Alexandre Guérin Melvil Poupaud
François Debord Denis Ménochet
Emmanuel Thomassin Swann Arlaud
Gilles Perret Eric Caravaca
Cardinal Barbarin François Marthouret
Bernard Preynat Bernard Verley
Irène Josiane Balasko
Odile Debord Hélène Vincent
Director François Ozon
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Other Information

Language: French + subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: CurzonGuidance: SwearingReleased on: 25 Oct 2019