There are movies that you learn about them and then forget because you don’t want to watch story. This happened to me with this multiple honored film (won many Goya awards including Best Film) as story is about the Opus Dei, a not old, secret, and obscure cult-like branch in the Catholic religion. Once my mother wanted me to belong to this sect, but after a visit I gave a rotund NO and fortunately my mother respected my NO. But to my surprise film story is interesting and not so subtle, critiques the sect.
Film is based on real-events but it’s a fictional account about real Alexia Gonzalez Barros that is in process of being canonized, i.e. becoming a saint. In film Alexia becomes Camino (means Path in Enlgish) a vivacious teenager girl that gets sick with spinal cancer. Film tells how illness is consuming her until her death. After watching I started to recall how controversial this film was not only because it dared critique the Opus Dei but also because the real family didn’t wanted this film to use the girl real name or get to the screens; the main reason is that director/screenwriter Javier Fesser made the girl strong desire-to-live tied to her love for Jesus, but in film Jesus was a handsome little boy she met once at theater class. Is thanks to this change in story that film really becomes interesting and where really critiques Opus Dei, as when story shows rites of passage and bizarre behaviors everything is told in a factual not passionate way.
There was a creepy scene with Camino going to cooking lessons while teacher was preaching; creepy because that was exactly my experience during my one day visit to the infamous sect where I got “cooking” lessons. Anyway story may sound sad, but director chose to tell it in a way that is not really sad even when is about a little child dying process, so film is not a tear jerker at all.
As a film I found it average with below average actor’s performances, but the real impact of this film is the story told, especially for audiences where the Opus Dei operates which is almost all countries in the world, including the United States of America.
I recommend this film to all interested in learning something about the Opus Dei but please don’t expect much more than an interesting story.
Watch trailer @MOC