Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Letters honors Mother Teresa's humble service

Movie Title:    The Letters

Grade:  B-

Rating:  1 hour, 54 minutes

In a Nutshell:    This inspiring bio drama is narrated by a priest whose task it was to research and petition for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the Catholic Church.  While she still has not received full sainthood status, her “missionaries of charity” have grown from just a handful to thousands today.  The movie features her humble journey from nun to a world icon of hope and service.  The title refers to letters she wrote to the leadership of the Catholic Church, expressing her private worries and admission of loneliness during her struggles.

Unfortunately, the movie spends a lot of time on the red tape involved in the Church’s various decisions that affected Mother Teresa’s ministry, but it was still fascinating to learn more about her life’s work.  It made me want to be a better person.  It was interesting to learn that she felt so abandoned by God while surrounded by people who were blessed by her God-like service and love.

Uplifting theme: 
  • "A little bit of God's love...that's all we can do." - Mother Teresa
  • “It’s not my work.  It’s God’s work.  I’m just a pencil in God’s hand.” – Mother Teresa     (Oh, that we could all be as effective in God’s hand as she was.)
  • St. Francis of Assisi is attributed to writing this prayer, which inspired Mother Teresa, as well as many others still today: “Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love.  Where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.”

Things I liked:
  • Juliet Stevenson did a great job honoring Mother Teresa.  I have always liked her body of work.  Mother Teresa was from Albania, so Juliet tried to do her best eastern European accent. 
  • I thought the contrast between Mother Teresa’s sweet, peaceful spirit of humility and that of Mother General’s jealous attitude was interesting.
  • It was sweet to hear the vow the nuns took to care for the hungry, naked, homeless and crippled.  Their desire to serve the lowest in India’s society was very touching and humbling.
  • For just a brief moment, you get to see a bird’s eye view of 1949 New York City, which is pretty cool-looking.
  • It was nice to see Rutger Hauer, who usually plays a bad guy in movies, as a thoughtful priest in this film.
  • Did you know Max von Sydow has won tons of acting awards from various countries?  He added a distinguished air the film.
  • I really love the movie poster.  

Things I didn’t like:
  • Even though Mother Terea wasn’t supposed to be that old in the movie, Juliet Stevenson slouched over a lot, making her look oddly older.
  • The film jumps forward and back, which can be a little confusing at times and make the story feel a bit disjointed.
  • Isn’t it ironic that the Hindus, who abandoned their temple, threw rocks at it because Mother Teresa was inside helping people not of their faith?  They said it was sacred to them, yet what she was doing inside was truly divine. 
  • Terrible actors, but authentic extras.
  • The film shows Mother Teresa receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, but doesn’t mention the other awards she received over the years.
  • The music tried to be inspiring, but sometimes its sweeping dramatic score didn’t quite match what was being shown on the screen.
  • It could have been epic, but it is very simple...just like Mother Teresa.


Interesting lines:
  • “She possesses depths of holiness far deeper than any of us imagined.” – Priest  
  • “We pray.  We trust in God.  God will give us an answer.” – Mother Teresa
  • "The greatest suffering is to feel unloved, unwanted, alone." - Mother Teresa

Tips for parents:   

  • Whenever your kids complain about having to sweep as a chore, have them watch the scenes where the nuns sweep the floor with a few twigs wrapped together!
  • Sobering images of death and suffering.
  • Parents may need to explain to their children about the caste system in India.
NEW UPDATE (as of 12/19/15)
Pope Francis on Thursdayapproved a decree recognizing a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, paving the way for the Roman Catholic nun to be made a saint next year. The miracle involved the alleged healing of a man who was suffering from multiple brain tumors, according to Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian Catholic bishops conference. Mother Teresa died in 1997 at the age of 87 and was beatified, which is the first step toward sainthood, in 2003. The second miracle is required for canonization. The paper reports that the pope would likely hold a canonization ceremony for the Nobel Peace laureate in early September. A Vatican spokesman said he had no information about the report.
Post a Comment