Bridge of San Luis Rey, The
Entertainment: +1 1/2
Acceptability: +2

After Lima, Perus Bridge of San Luis Rey breaks in 1714, sending five people into the gorge to their deaths, Brother Juniper (Gabriel Byrne), a Franciscan monk, is greatly disturbed by such a tragic act of God. In this drama based on the Thornton Wilder novel, Brother Juniper becomes obsessed with the question of Why? What did those five have in common that God chose to take them? Was it judgment or mercy or perhaps just a cosmic accident with no purpose? Searching for answers, Juniper investigates the lives of the deceased. But as he delves into their personal stories, he can find no discernible pattern that might explain the tragedy. While some of the victims had clear failings, others were moral and full of hope and potential for the future. So as he compiles his findings, Juniper finds himself in a struggle for faith in Gods mysterious plans.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey presents a legitimate dilemma for people of faith. Though it would be simpler if Gods plans were easily understood, Juniper discovers that many of Gods works are beyond human comprehension. Only faith allows believers to accept that God is working things out according to His good will, even in the most tragic of circumstances. Though its topic is interesting, the film is unfortunately difficult to follow. It moves abruptly between people, events and thoughts without clearly explaining what each part of the story adds to Junipers quest. As a result, the viewer must try to piece everything together, which is particularly daunting with the film's 18th-century setting, situations and dialog. In the end, the films conclusions are unclear. Does Junipers quest end in faith or unbelief? Even with these failings, dedicated viewers will find some worthwhile moments in this film.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty
Distributor: Fine Line Features

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Several times mild (man injured by a falling crate); strong (images of people falling to their deaths, images of deadly wounds and diseases, image of man being burned at the stake)
Sexual Intercourse: Few times mild (unmarried woman and man shown in bed partially undressed and kissing with sexual activity implied, unmarried man and woman shown in embrace with sexual activity implied and the woman later becoming pregnant)
Nudity: Few times mild (nudity shown in paintings, women in period clothing show cleavage)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times mild (man refers to enjoying the company of women with some sexual connotations, references to a mans lover, a man in power discusses a woman with lustful overtones, a man discusses his tastes in female companionship with some sexual connotations)
Drug Abuse: Few times mild (use of alcohol, possible addiction to alcohol)
Other: Numerous appropriate references to God, Christ and the divine will; portrayal of the 18th-century church, inquisition and execution; portrayal of a church that considers anything that might challenge faith as dangerous and heretical; woman prays to the Mary at a shrine
Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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