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Mass Appeal (1984)

 -  Drama  -  14 December 1984 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 731 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 3 critic

A popular Connecticut priest shields a seminary rebel from the wrath of a stern monsignor.

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Title: Mass Appeal (1984)

Mass Appeal (1984) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Mark Dolson
...
Monsignor Thomas Burke
Louise Latham ...
Margaret
...
Mrs. Hart
Helene Heigh ...
Mrs. Hart's mother
...
Marion Hart
James Ray ...
Father De Nicola
Lois De Banzie ...
Mrs. Dolson
...
Liz Dolson
...
Mr. Dolson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John C. Becher ...
Mr. Jennings
Allison Caine ...
Additional Voice
Christopher Carroll ...
Salvatore Fitzgerald
John Devlin ...
Choir Leader
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Storyline

A popular Connecticut priest shields a seminary rebel from the wrath of a stern monsignor.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Somewhere between laughter and tears, they found something to believe in.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Algo en que creer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two major supporting roles for the film were added to the story which were not in the "Mass Appeal" stage play. These were the housekeeper and monsignor characters, played by Louise Latham and Charles Durning respectively. See more »

Quotes

Father Tim Farley: You're a lunatic! And Christ NEEDS lunatics. But the trouble with lunatics is, they don't know how to survive.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Dune/Starman/Mass Appeal/Runaway (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

a study of idiosyncrasies and harmless little lies

Mark Dolson (Zeljko Ivanek) wants to be a priest because, as a child, someone boiled his goldfish. The alternate version is as uninspired - because he does not find fulfillment in intimate relationships with either sex, he is qualified for the priesthood. At any rate, he says that he wants `to help people.' A bit of a loose cannon, Dolson is sent by the Monsignor to serve as deacon for the now jaded Father Farley (Jack Lemmon).

What ever his faults may be, Dolson is impassioned. He wants to make a difference. The problem is that it is unclear as to whether the priesthood is the place for him to do it. As a vehicle for exploring the question of gays (or women for that matter) in the Roman Catholic priesthood, Mass Appeal is lacking because of this lack of clarity.

His lack of a clear `call' is foregrounded by his lackluster attempts at sermons. All Mark knows is that he wants to move people. He is uncertain about where his congregation is, or where he wants to move them. Farley steps in to suggest that he go for beloved. Hence the play on words in the title. Farley wants Mark to gain Mass Appeal by making the Mass appealing: if someone finds God in the process, hey that's ok too. Dolson will have none of this and founders.

Farley's appeal is that he knows the system. One gets the impression that he wants someone to rock the boat. Of course the irony of the situation is that in order to shake up the system, one must first join it.

Does this film have a meaning or a message? Well yeah, it does. But that is something for each viewer to figure out for him or herself. It won't make you hate or love the church (any church – this one just happens to be Roman Catholic). Did I like the film? Yes. Is it my favorite? No – not even close. It is a study of idiosyncrasies and harmless little lies (`I didn't know there was such a thing,' says Dolan). Jack Lemmon is in it for goodness sake, what else could you want?


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