• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Wednesday, March 14, 2018

    Mary Magdalene Round Up

    I've been toying with the idea of whether to post this piece or whether to stick to my usual pace of roughly twice a week, but now I figure, with 2 Bible films being releases in the next 10 days, I should probably just crack on. So here's a round up of various bit and pieces to do with the Mary Magdalene film which opens in the UK on Friday.

    Firstly, Kermode and Mayo's Film Review broadcast an interview with the star of Mary, Rooney Mara as part of last Friday's show. It starts around 40 minutes into full programme, which also includes a few comments from them around the fact that Rooney Mara still hasn't manage to see the finished film yet. Alternatively you can listen to just the interview which is around 12 minutes long. Their review will be in next week's show.

    The earliest reviews for the film have been rather poor however. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian calls the story "toothless" and sums it up as "a platonic apostlemance". Empire's Dan Jolin is only marginally more impressed finding Phoenix's turn as Jesus unconvincing and the film itself losing "focus during the crucial final act". Guy Lodge of Variety finds that "its characterization of Mary herself feels tentative and incomplete".

    In contrast there's a much more positive piece at The Telegraph, though the eagle-eyed will notice that it says it is "brought to you by Mary Magdalene". That's either a startling new resurrection story, or an indication that the piece suggesting the film could be an OscarTM contender isn't as neutral as it might be. Currently the film is at only 36% at Rotten Tomatoes, though it has a more respectable 6.4 at IMDb.

    Part of the reason for this maybe that there have been a number of church leader screenings, events which tend to generate an unusual initial enthusiasm & high ranking on IMDb (where anyone can vote) which contrasts with Rotten Tomatoes where there is some kind of pre-requiste of actually knowing something about film. (Disclaimer: That's not snobbery - I'm not good enough for RT either!)

    One of those pre-screenings was held in London by Damaris (I guess my invite must have got lost in the post, right?) who have also produced a media resource in partnership with Mothers' Union which you can download here.

    Two of the people who saw the film at another screening were Prof. Joan Taylor, an academic adviser on the film, and Helen Bond. Afterwards they discussed the film and have released it as a podcast.

    These days it's always worth keeping an eye on Twitter if you're wanting to keep on top of stories such as this. If you're already folloing me, I'm @MattPage. Two other people are worth following as the release date approaches are Michelle Fletcher @NTRight who has seen the film and liked it; and, of course, Peter Chattaway (@PTChat) who hasn't but is always worth following for Bible film related news anyway.

    Speaking of Peter, over at his blog there are links to a featurette of the film, as well as quotes from and links to a number of other interviews.

    One final piece of news is that this film has passed the Loughborough test, and so I will be reviewing it at some point over the weekend, depending on how awake I feel after a week at work and an evening screening.

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    • At 1:38 am, May 13, 2018, Blogger Unknown said…

      Hello. I loved your reviews on Mary Magdalene. While I do love the film, your reviews with its intrecrate knitting of keen observations with tons of respect and admiration weighs in every detail and perspective, it makes me a ppreciate the movie even more. I had been following your blog since 2008 or 2009. Keep posting!

      Bry Mendoza from the Philippines

    • At 12:18 am, May 23, 2018, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks for your kind comments Bry. Much appreciated.


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