HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Amazing Mr. X, The
Haunted House Elf
Lost & Found
Reformation
Abyss, The
Agent 505: Death Trap in Beirut
Lured
Jem and the Holograms
Burning of Red Lotus Monastery, The
Bag Boy Lover Boy
Sleepless Night
Willy McBean and His Magic Machine
Robbery
Tag
Never Back Down
Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars
Kriminal
It Comes at Night
Strangled
Mojin - The Lost Legend
Poison Ivy
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Union Station
My Brother Talks to Horses
Storks
Big Sick, The
Phantom Creeps, The
Houseboat
White Dress for Mariale, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
   
 
  Heaven Help Us Catholic TastesBuy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Michael Dinner
Stars: Andrew McCarthy, Kevin Dillon, Mary Stuart Masterson, Donald Sutherland, John Heard, Michael Danare, Stephen Geoffreys, Jay Patterson, Patrick Dempsey, Kate Reid, Wallace Shawn, Dana Barron, Yeardley Smith, Philip Bosco, Jennifer Dundas
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Michael Dunn (Andrew McCarthy) is a teenager in the Brooklyn of 1965, and he has had to transfer schools because he is now living with his grandparents and his sister. His grandmother (Kate Reid) has high hopes that he will join the priesthood, but he is not convinced he wants to, and when his new school is St. Basil's, little wonder. He first meets with the head of the establishment, Brother Thadeus (Donald Sutherland), who bamboozles him with his rules, and quickly learns how strict the place is, most notably when he joins his new class which is under the tutelage of Brother Constance (Jay Patterson), not a man averse to using violence to keep the students in line, such is the harshness of the Catholic regime...

Heaven Help Us was also known as Catholic Boys in some territories, all the better for the potential audience to identify what they could let themselves in for. It was a film that took both an insider's and outsider's view to its subject in that it was obviously penned (by Charles Pupura, whose sole other script was for earlyJulia Roberts vehicle Satisfaction) by somebody who knew what they were talking about, but was not immune to taking a critical examination of the Catholic school system as if he were looking in and being confounded by its practices. Some of this was comical, at other times it was deadly serious, but in every scene the sense of being told an account very much connected to personal experience was apparent.

With Michael, Andrew McCarthy probably received his best leading role (sorry, Weekend at Bernie's fans), a young man with a foot in two camps, one the hardline religious teaching imposed on him in a manner he is starting to realise is against his will, the other with the lapsed or even non-Catholics who do not need to go through these rules and regulations as a method of making pious citizens under their idea of God. If this faltered a little, it was down to the lack of awareness that Catholicism was far from the only faith that had its dedication to various tenets which would restrict the personal happiness of its adherents, a conservatism that contained a surprising amount in common with fundamentalism across the globe.

You would not find that in the sole Protestant character of note, though she comes across as a bit of a waif; Danni (Mary Stuart Masterson) basically runs the diner the schoolboys and girls of the other school use to get away from it all, to smoke it would seem, for her father is in a bad way and she is his carer. She barely mentions her religion, and it is this not fitting in within this neighbourhood that attracts Michael, with grandmother smug in the knowledge that their relationship will amount to nothing if he is to join an order. Constance represented that aggressively nasty side to religion, and our hero must learn to rebel against him in particular if he is to achieve any kind of contentment, but there was a feeling the harshest monk was merely parroting what he has been taught by an overwhelming and misguided at best, corrupt at worst, organisation.

We see these boys punished time and again, and the screenplay made a good fist of portraying confession as especially weird and damaging to a young soul, that idea that God is all-knowing and more or less all-disdainful into the bargain being the source of a lifetime of misplaced guilt for billions. As Michael and his new friends, who in truth do not often act with a lot of friendliness, buckle under this we begin to anticipate that someone is going to break, though it may not have been who you expected as there was worth mentioning the key supporting character Brother Timothy (John Heard). He is there to illustrate that the Church is not all barely contained tyrants whose religion has made them somewhere close to insane, and that there is the possibility of a loosening of restrictions, even - gasp! - a liberalism available that would treat the faithful with kindness rather than savage suspicion. How accurate this was in 1965, or twenty years later, was up for debate, but it ended the film on a note of optimism. More complex than the usual teen movie, food for thought amidst the expected crude humour. Music by James Horner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 259 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: