MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2 1/2

Produced in England, PRIEST is a controversial film about a young homosexual Catholic priest. Father Greg Pilkington, (Linus Roache), a handsome young priest, is assigned to a poor parish in Liverpool, England. He is replacing an older, alcoholic priest who is having a crisis of faith. Father Greg's new companion priest, Father Matthew Thomas (Tom Wilkinson), is sleeping with his female housekeeper. Father Greg feels that both of these priests are in error, and is trying to live up to his vows, except one - he has a male homosexual lover. He also is struggling with what to do about a case of incest between a father and his 14-year-old daughter. He learns about it in a confidential confession, and is not supposed to tell anyone about it, including the girl's mother. When Father Greg's homosexual lover is found out, the young priest falls into disgrace. Father Matthew comes to his defense, but most of the parishioners are angry and upset. Although the film deals with some very disturbing subjects, it is a well done, engrossing drama.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights says this film indulges in Catholic “bashing.” They call it a “cruel caricature of Roman Catholic priests” by portraying one priest as a homosexual, another as a confused alcoholic and the other as violating his vows of celibacy. The film also tends to develop sympathy for Father Greg's homosexuality by depicting him as a compassionate, conscientious priest who wants to serve God. At the same time, Father Greg concludes that his homosexual lifestyle is sinful. He asks the Catholic clergy and his parishioners for their forgiveness. Further, in some heated discussions his parishioners quote Biblical scriptures which clearly condemn homosexuality. However, Father Matthew argues that a priest should not be condemned for being a homosexual. These honest, but sometimes misleading, discussions give the film some redeeming values, but it goes too far when it shows Father Greg and his lover in two scenes of passionate kissing and caressing, but no nudity. Further, a number of obscenities are spoken and some of the conversations about homosexuality are rather graphic, sometimes even crude. Although the film has some merits, its homosexual sex scenes and obscenities are unnecessary and offensive.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (7) times - Mild 3, Moderate 4

Obscene Language: Many (13) times (s-word 3, others 10

Profanity: Several (5) times - Regular 1 (God); Exclamatory 4

Violence: Once - Moderate (woman beats on man)

Sex: None, but implied in incest scene-no nudity

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (comments expressing homosexual desire; comments about priest and woman having sex; suggestive facial expressions.

Drugs: Several times (drinking at funeral celebration and bar; priests drink together)

Other: Many discussions about homosexuality; homosexual priest asks for forgiveness; Catholic Church criticized for emphasizing pomp and ceremony instead of meeting people's needs and for forbidding confession confidentially to be broken in extenuating circumstances.

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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