My husband and I watched this movie last night. It is well acted and quite riveting but...
On 2 occasions he told persons who wanted to confess, that they did not need to admit their sins, (he already knew them) and absolved them without their confessing.
I do not know if that really happened, probably didn't, but I heard as far as the aforementioned ability he was really able to do that.
-once he told a confessing young girl she forgot to confess working on Sunday (actually watering flowers!)
-he told a dying man's wife he did not really repent but feigned his contrition (meaning he could actually read inside his mind/soul) and the man would surely be damned
Also did Padre Pio really say that Karol Wojtyla would become pope and that he would be a good pope? That was the Aha! moment for me.
As far as I know, he did really meet young Wojtyla, but the prophecy bit is just urban legend, as dozens of others arisen through the decades due to his immense popularity
Also on 2 occasions he offered Holy Mass facing the people and even distracted during the consecration by a priest looking at his watch.
To me it was using Padre Pio as a prop for newchurch.
It may be, but it could also be that one scene was a screenwriting choice, or just a result of the consultants for the movie being NOist oblivious to such a detail and possibly very positive about JPII. In that sense undoubtedly yes, it's a movie intended to PR for the (Counter)Church.
This seems to be a good response by Desmond IMHO.
I can offer my experience of meeting the director in person, Carlo Carlei, and listening to his description of the filming was the experience of a lifetime for me. He described situations they encountered during filming that could not be explained by any natural means. There were a number of conversions on the movie set because of these events. He said he was not a particularly religious man before this filming but the process he went through was a life changing experience for him.
The life and legacy of Padre Pio has been handled in such a way so as to promote Newchurch, to be sure. Most of the books written about him are quite tainted by this agenda. And now, we are losing the people who knew him in person as they die off, and only their descriptions passed on by word of mouth endure. Publications that have been true to the entire person of this great stigmatist have been suppressed and denounced so as to not receive the credit they deserve.
He celebrated Mass ad orientem his whole life, with the exception of ONE DAY, when because of obedience, he was required to face the people. He reluctantly did obey, and curiously, the photographs taken of that one Mass are the only ones you will find in most books! -- Even though there were hundreds of photos of him facing the tabernacle over the years, those shots just are not made public.
As for confessions, he was well-known for having the gift of being able to see the souls of penitents, and many times he refused to give absolution to those who neglected to confess one or more serious sins, whether they had forgotten them or even if they had tried to hide them. Fortunately for the penitents, they usually agreed to hear his description of their omitted sins and then gave their assent to contrition for them. This kind of thing is not too different from the scene in the movie where he hears his own father's confession at his death. In my opinion, that is one of the most powerful scenes in the movie, and it's one that other films can't come close to touching. Try to remember that just because something is shown in a movie doesn't mean it literally happened exactly that way in real life. There is a degree of poetic license in film making and this one is no different.
There is another scene that is very funny to me. When the boy Francesco is having dinner with his family and he announces his desire to become a Friar, his mother is supportive but his father resists, saying it would cost too much money. Then his mother suggests that his father could sell the cow. Every time I watch his reaction, I burst out with uncontrollable laughter: "La vaca -- NO!!!"
If that was not in Italian, it just would not be so funny. There is something about the real language and the real Italian actors and the whole situation that makes it work. It's unstoppably hilarious. There is another funny scene in the orchard, when Padre Pio is leading a group through to pray for the bugs and vermin on the trees to die, one man makes a snide comment, and Padre Pio KICKS him in the rear. That is SO MUCH just like something he would really do!
Every time I see this movie, I laugh, I cry and I am amazed. This is a great film. I can easily imagine the real Padre Pio in all the stories I have heard about him as I watch the scenes progress. It makes a lot of sense (even if it isn't entirely and absolutely perfect).
If you want to become familiar with the style of Carlo Carlei, you can see a number of his other movies, as he has a long list of films he has directed. The ones that preceded Miracle Man were very secular and somewhat vulgar, but his cinematography and creativity is there just the same.
During the one-time showing of this movie in a Hollywood theater (as I recall it was in early 2001), the projector would not start at first. Showing was delayed for about an hour, all told. During that time, Mr. Carlei appeared in person and gave a moving speech to educate the half-filled theater. About a quarter of the audience were nuns with full habit, and everyone was there because they had received advance notice of this one-time showing. He said that these two projectors are very reliable and fairly new, with an excellent maintenance record and no prior malfunctions. He said the manufacturer's own technicians are on hand checking all the components, and every part of each machine is in working order and all systems check out by testing, however, neither one has been able to start, and no one knows why. This is much like what happened on the movie set, he explained, that sometimes they had to call off shooting for a whole day, which is no small decision, since there are costumes and makeup and preparations that all have to be in place for a shoot. But when the cameras would not work, there could be no shooting. Then the next day they would try the cameras and they worked fine, as if nothing had ever been amiss.
So the same thing happened to us. As he stood there explaining how other-worldly the filming experience was, almost as if he was getting to be too convincing, suddenly the projectors started working.
This was in Hollywood, where lots of very strange people line up to see very depraved movies. Since our time in the theater had put the venue behind schedule, the next audience who had come and gathered in the large plaza area in front of the theater to see some other movie had become upset with the delay, and therefore, as we exited after the movie was over, we had to run the gauntlet of their ire. The hurled insults at us and some even spat at us as we walked by. They were blaming us for their inconvenience, as though the projector problem had been our fault.
Whenever someone contends that the delay due to projector malfunction could have been a mere stunt to promote the movie, I assure them that this renown director would never have put his friends and the audience through the terrifying experience of facing a virtual mob outside upon leaving, and therefore he would not have had a hand in making the delay any more than it absolutely had to be, beyond anyone's control.
This was an Italian movie made for TV (not for theater release), and so its not getting a wide showing in the USA is understandable. But it never got any release as a TV movie here, either. Perhaps the reason is that the English version is rather compromised in sound quality and that's the version that would have been shown here on TV: maybe it failed to meet broadcast standards. But the original Italian version with English subtitles is quite good, provided you can read pretty fast.
As Desmond aptly contends, above, the writers and the director were not Traditional Catholics, and so there are nuances in the film that might rub us the wrong way, but in all fairness, we should be able to look past those faults and let the overall artistry of the cinematography make up for what is lacking in doctrinal clarity. As I said before, it's hard to imagine this movie being much more true to the life of this holy man, all told, that is, given the limits of moviemaking in today's world. This movie is an enormous accomplishment, and I have no doubt that the devil did EVERYTHING he could to keep it from seeing the light of day. It was all shot in the beautiful Pietrelcina region, and the film does great justice to the natural beauty of the place.