By the Grace of God
Drama | French with English subtitles | 137 minutes
Alexandre Guérin is a successful banker in Lyon, France, with a wife and five kids. One day he becomes aware that Father Bernard Preynat, the priest who sexually abused him as a child, has not been defrocked and, with church approval, is still teaching children. Now at age of 40, Alexandre is still suffering from the psychological damage caused by that experience. The church psychologist arranges a meeting with Alexandre and Father Preynat, hoping for a conciliation. Instead of an apology and asking for forgiveness, Father Preynat confesses what he’s done claiming it’s an illness and was beyond his control. Alexandre manages to convince others who suffered at the hands of Father Preynat, to come forward, but, at every turn, are rebuffed by the church. Alexandre decides his only option is to sue Father Preynat and the church and have the clergy (both directly and indirectly) responsible for pedophilia by the priests, be severely punished.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 96%
- Metacritic Score: 75
- Berlin International Film Festival: Winner, Silver Berlin Bear
- César Awards: Winner, Best Director (François Ozon; Best Original Screenplay (François Ozon); Best Actor (Melvil Poupaud); Best Supporting Actor (Swann Arlaud)
- St. Louis Critics Association: Nominated, Best Foreign Language Film
- Stockholm Film Festival: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
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“BY the GRACE of GOD is a powerful, meticulously researched and vital film about true events that took the Catholic church in France to court and changed the future about Catholicism forever. BY the GRACE of GOD is one of the best films of 2019.
Ozon exerts his command of cinematic language throughout, in ways that are less immediately obvious. He crafts a film that is engrossing from the start, while building to something greater and more emotionally encompassing. BY the GRACE of GOD is a rarity. An important film that’s also utterly inspired.
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