Beautifully captivating: A ‘Fatima’ review

Sarah Wandor

Critic’s Corner Columnist

The 2020 film “Fatima” is one of the most beautiful, well-made and heartfelt films I have ever seen.

The film, which was set to be released in theaters on April 24 but was delayed until August 28 of last year, has captivating cinematography, with many scenes taking place in real locations and with natural backgrounds for many such scenes. It adds to the simplicity and beauty of the film, giving a very peaceful and calming feel.

Lucia Moniz, who portrays Maria Rosa, is amazing as Lucia’s mother in the film. Moniz brings to life the balance of having great faith but being very stern, and makes her character feel genuine. Everything from her posture to her voice is incredibly done to the point where you forget she is an actress and not the real person.

The struggles of all the characters are written to be shown very well and not just from one person’s perspective but many.

They are not glossed over and made to look pretty, but they are messy and by no means easy to work through. From Lucia’s relationship with her mother and the townspeople’s reactions to her personal struggle of what she is entrusted with, we see it all and its difficulty, not just for Lucia but also for those around her.

Their struggles and problems also do not magically disappear overnight. Lucia’s mother does not change immediately nor does the direction that Artur, the mayor, takes escalate too quickly.

This allows the story to be all the more real and plausible for those who do not have any prior knowledge about Fatima. It brings the people to life, helps them seem relatable and establishes a connection between them and those who are watching instead of spouting facts to the audiences face about what happened. It gives the story a much more human feel, allowing you to become further emersed in the film.

The relationships established throughout “Fatima” are very well written and don’t fall into the too common trap of being cliché. The many conversations Professor Nichols and Sister Lucia have when he is interviewing her are very genuine and thought provoking.

Nichols and Sister Lucia each have opposing views and opinions but are not angry at each other and do not create useless and boorish drama like many films make the mistake of doing. Instead, they understand each other, respect their differences and debate calmly.

Their conversations seem like they are actually taking place in that moment and their inability to answer the other’s questions at times only adds to the human aspect of their characters. The simplicity of their conversations is not about shoving their view or opinion down the other’s throat, like debates can be, but stating their perspective without judgement.

What truly makes this an incredible film is the depth and heart that is felt by simply watching it.

It is captivating, holds the audience’s attention and keeps viewers spellbound throughout the film with the story, the way it is written and the humanness of its characters.

Very rarely have I seen a film where the heart of the creators could be felt, but “Fatima” is one of those few. The makers put their hearts and souls into making this movie and it shows; their hard work bears much fruit in this film.

It is not half-baked and made just for money. It is not overly religious to the point of boredom. It is captivating, touching, beautiful and leaves the audience amazed at what they have just seen. I have had the pleasure of witnessing this in very few films.

“Fatima” is worth watching once and many times over and losing yourself in the story and the message it gives. It is one of the most amazingly beautiful and spell binding films I have ever seen. Director Marco Pontecorvo has truly created a masterpiece.

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