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The film contains a scene where Kelly says one of the most quotable lines ever: "If you feed the poor, you're called a saint. If you ask why they're poor, you're called a Communist." Kelly says this during a scene when she is responding to people who resist her search for the truth through her newspaper. Americans who are concerned with political freedom and justice should keep this statement in mind - it is especially salient today.
That said, there are flaws in "Entertaining Angels." Kelly's performance as the younger Dorothy Day is great, but in the film Day is supposed gradually to look older, and this aging process isn't convincing. Martin Sheen also has a part as a wandering, Christ-like, populist preacher. He's OK here, but his Inspector Clouseau-like French accent won't be on his career retrospective videotape. Also, the film might have bitten off more than it can chew. It could have used a bigger budget and a more professional cast.
Overall, though, this one is well worth a rental. I'm a big Moira Kelly fan, too. I hope she will be around a long time.
I'd only heard of Dorothy Day before I viewed this movie at a Catholic retreat house run by the Redemptorists.
I suspect the producers felt they could go only so far with the subject matter, but they paid attention. The fact that they even tried reflects well on them.
Moira Kelly credibly kept my attention throughout. I could recognize Melinda Dillon, Heather Graham, Brian Keith and Martin Sheen among the other players, but that's not to slight the large cast that truly worked as an ensemble.
I'll doubtless learn more, and plan that by reading Day's autobiography "The Long Loneliness" and her account of the Catholic Worker movement, "Loaves and Fishes".
Any film that inspires me to learn more about its subject earns my respect.
When we first meet Dorothy Day she's a most militant suffragette and she's out there hanging out with a crowd that Warren Beatty introduced us to in Reds. They all went their separate ways be it John Reed to Russia, Eugene O'Neill to the theater. At some point Day came to believe that humankind had a soul and a spiritual hunger that the Communist Manifesto was not addressing.
She will never be considered for sainthood, she was not the type to whom sainthood is granted. She had her share of lovers, she had a child and it's not too clear whether she was married to Lenny Von Dohlen or not when their daughter was born. But if deeds is the measure she should qualify.
Brian Keith has a role and he's simply identified as the Cardinal. In fact he's Cardinal Patrick Hayes of the New York Archdiocese and while not 100% supportive was indulgent. Cardinal Hayes did quite a lot spending much of the Archdiocese's own funds to help in relief. He died in late 1938. His successor was Cardinal Francis Spellman who had he been in charge no doubt would have squelched her movement. But Catholic Workers was a fait accompli when he took over and he gave her a wide berth and her do her thing while he did his vigorous anti-Communist thing.
In fact in their scene Keith does mention that he is distressed she associates with these anti-clerical elements who are sympathetic to the Spanish Republic. She doesn't give an inch. The scene with Keith and Kelly is the high point of the film.
No sainthood for Dorothy Day, but the love and respect of millions whom she served. Really fine biographical film.
The best of this is a view into how the errors she became painfully aware of were removed by the Grace she experienced. "You are no Marxist" is a good line. The movie nowhere mentions Therese of Liseaux who died a few years before Dorothy was born. Dorothy Day wrote the biographies for Therese of the Little Flowers parents. Like others I would like to see the movement clarified in another movie: what happened to the kids who were raised along side the poor.
The year is 1917.In it,we see Dorothy Day hanging out with notorious liberals such as Eugene O'Neal and working as a politically active radical journalist.They are working together in supporting the implementation of the women's right to vote.We also see her drinking and free loving that he later found herself pregnant.This results into an abortion which traumatized her and consumed her with guilt.She later found herself to become a single mom bearing a daughter from another relationship.This led to a change in direction after she meets Sister Aloyisius and becoming a Roman Catholic after being an atheist all her life.Later she and her child,move to Manhattan where she begins working with the needy while trying to reestablish her career as a journalist.She co-founds The Catholic Worker, a newspaper dedicated to her new cause and to criticizing the rigid class distinctions of the Establishment that only serve to keep the poor oppressed and hopeless.
It was a great movie.Despite the fact that it spends a lot of the time during Day's younger years instead of her years as a renewed Catholic,we get to see a great performance from Moira She was able to translate Day's combative nature and the yearning for meaning in life that made her convert into Catholicism.Also,her fight for for social justice, civil rights, and disarmament as well as her incredible struggles for it were also in it.It would have been better if it went to that direction more instead of Day's young life as a wild drinker.But overall,it still is a good portrayal of her on screen.