I went to see For Greater Glory earlier in the week. It’s a good movie, but I found it difficult to watch in parts. The Cristero War didn’t end happily for all concerned, except in Heaven; and the movie doesn’t spare us the moral ambiguities of wars fought and run by amateurs. Martyrdom is glorious but not pretty, and war is not at all like heaven.
But it’s beautifully shot, it’s interesting, it couldn’t be more topical, it’s got heart and isn’t ashamed of it. It’s educational for anybody, and it’s certainly a movie that challenges you to stiffen up your spine. It’s inspiring and truly Christian and Catholic.
It’s also a movie with a lot of male characters of all ages, who get to do more than talk about women and their dating lives; and the women in the flick also are not fluffchicks but real people with guts and smarts.
(And there’s horses. Some amazingly beautiful horses and horsemanship. And trains. And small towns and amazing landscapes. And the period costumes and haircuts — so beautifully done.)
Many of the movie scenes are built from surviving photographs taken during the Cristero War, and of course the filmmakers are interested in telling the story of one of the photographer martyrs. But if you stay to the end, you will see them pay their debt to the artists before them, with giant period photos of various real persons who were portrayed in the movie, and of anonymous Cristeros. They even ran the small piece of surviving footage of the execution of a Cristero martyr. I’ve seen it before online, but seeing it onscreen, run at the right speed — it hurt. It was brave and beautiful, but it hurt.
So you might not want to take young kids. It’s not an R for sex or language, and I’ve seen a lot worse violence in PG movies. But it’s a little too close to real life for comfortable viewing by kids.
A Carmelite community of contemplatives went to see the movie, because their community also lived through the Cristero years.