FIN Review: By The Grace Of God takes a stand against sexual abuse and the protection of priests by the church

This unforgettable film about a group of mens’ fight to hold a pedophile priest and the church that protected him accountable.

Decades later, their search for other victims of Father Preynat, including their search for one whose Statute Of Limitations on filing charges has not expired, is exhaustive and exasperating.

It’s a film both about healing old wounds caused by sexual abuse by a man of authority, finding acceptance in society for victims who have done nothing wrong, and pushing for changes within the justice system and church system that make reporting crimes difficult.

I must be honest and say I did not enjoy this winner of the 2019 Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. But this movie was not made for entertainment value. It is as crucial as it is difficult to watch, and it’s a thoughtful, truly extraordinary meditation on how the system fails victims of sexual trauma.

Based on a true story, it chronicles the journeys of these men, all willing to go to different lengths to get justice, and the issues they face, both internally and externally.

This is a gut-wrenching film, and to me, it’s mandatory viewing for 2019. It’s a crowning achievement from director François Ozon, and has the power to really start important conversations.

4.5/5 Stars



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