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There Be Dragons
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There Be Dragons More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Thoughtful, beautiful historical drama

Author: christinepennacchio from United States
22 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Childhood friends part and chose to see the world through different lenses during the Spanish Civil War. Manolo has connections and seeks to avoid letting anyone get the best of him and doesn't see beyond the here and now. JoseMaria is a young priest who helps the poor and teaches his friends to foster peace. The film is based on the true story of St. JoseMaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, a movement to appreciate the sanctity of daily work done with love and trust. This film really makes a person ponder their own self and their spiritual and moral strengths and weaknesses. We can relate to the different characters in many ways, and we feel for them even when they make a wrong decision. This film has beautiful and captivating cinematography, and tells a historical story in a very engaging way. The narrative captures the essence of St. Escriva's philosophy and makes it more of a tangible reality for the modern man. I highly recommend this movie!

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8 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

An amazing movie

Author: checridj from United States
10 May 2011

I have stayed away from Hollywood movies for the last few years due to the very disappointing quality of what is being produced. This is an amazing movie. If you are looking for something different than the regular junk,something that deals with profound issues of life, anger, hate, forgiveness and love than this movie is for you. It will leave a very deep mark in your heart and will help you look into your life and identify your own dragons. After many years of mediatic bashing of the Catholic Church and the Opus Dei organization, this movie reveals the true message of Christianity and the extremely challenging call to living according the teaching of the Church. Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei is admirably portrayed in this movie which shows the difficulty of choosing the right behavior.

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8 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Deeply moved, given a chance

Author: bgreen-49-608497 from United States
9 May 2011

It took a second viewing of this spiritual movie to be moved very deeply by the content of this script. I was taken in on my first viewing by the specialness of this Saint, but I didn't get the deeper impact until I saw it a second time. This was Not a typical movie going experience that a superhero flick might provide, but well worth giving this picture a chance to work on you. IMPACTFUL! What I really like is the well portrayed documentation of our own lives' choices and how readily we follow our baser instincts and how difficult it can be to work towards a deeper connection on our paths. This movie does not grab you like the music in the Mission and its beautiful scenery, nor the straightforwardness of Joffe's Killing Fields but nonetheless it does certainly deliver on meaning and the supernatural. This is not a political commentary on the Spanish Civil War, or a love story movie, but a compelling deeply spiritual movie that has to work on the audience at a deeper level.

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11 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

The movie is thought-provoking.

Author: Techvet from United States
7 May 2011

I would say that the movie is about the choices each one of us makes and their ramifications. Most (all?) of the main characters had one defect or another. Each one handled their main defect differently and this led to different outcomes.

The movie is a bit more violent than I would have expected (you definitely should respect the PG-13 rating regarding your children at the movie) and there was one scene which probably doesn't make much sense unless you know the life of St. Josemaria (similar to complaints people have about the Harry Potter movies making less sense unless you have read the books), but I liked the movie and wouldn't have a problem seeing it again. I really liked the lighting/choreography.

This gives Americans a better glimpse of the Spanish Civil War compared to "For Whom The Bell Tolls" in which Hemingway romanticized the communistic cause. (The fascists had serious issues, but they were the lesser of two evils and weren't running around killing priests and nuns.)

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1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Inspiring and beautifully shot, though a bit flawed

Author: meitschi from Vienna, Austria
17 September 2011

I have read many terrible reviews of this film and expected something bland and convoluted, but after a few minutes, the visuals and storytelling really drew me in. Yes, some parts of the dialog are quite cheesy or too obvious, and the combination of the stories of Manolo and Josemaria is far from perfect. But Joffé is a very visual filmmaker, and so he was able to achieve with his beautiful images (kudos to Gabriel Beristain for his stunning visuals!) what he wasn't perfectly able to do with his dialog: to impress and inspire.

It was especially interesting how delicately and plausibly Joffé handled many real-life events from St Josemaria's life - scenes that could have gone terribly wrong in less expert hands. He also payed a lot of attention to visual detail - for example, in the end titles, the photos of the actors that portrayed real-life people are combined with real photos of these people.

The less interesting storyline was that of Manolo, though the final revelations were nevertheless disturbing enough. (At the same time, the movie has an astonishing lack of both gore and even the slightest touch of sensuality in it - surprising for a film about war and a destructive passion... They probably didn't want to lose the PG-13 rating, did they? ;-))

I guess, it's a movie for open-minded people with a taste for old-school movie-making, grand drama and big moral questions.

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1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

This movie was NOT about Spains civil war

Author: yaasman from Mexico
2 August 2011

It just happens during the civil war.

So stop with the fascism and communism and any other "ism" and claiming the propaganda, w/e

Who cares? Seriously, its a movie.....

The story is quite powerful, about the twists of a spy. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes a bit of storytelling, and the photography? really nice in my opinion.

The story about the priest feels like a filler, although sometimes interesting, not really much there to see.

Overall it's a good movie and I enjoyed it.

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6 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

The gift of Forgiveness

Author: mariapaula73 from United States
11 May 2011

This movie captures the beauty as well as the brutality of war without forgetting that it is the individual stories of those on the ground that matter.

To be precise, There Be Dragons tells three stories, involving three very different men: the founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaría Escrivá, and two fictional characters, Manolo Torres, who is a childhood friend of Josemaría, and Manolo's estranged son, Robert, a journalist who, in 1982, decides to write about the soon-to-be-beatified Josemaría.

But all of the film's strengths, all of its overlapping patterns and layers of meaning, are at the service of something larger: the creation of a work of cinematic embroidery that, in the end, can only be appreciated as a dense and complex whole. While full of moral reflection, the film does not preach or try to prove anything. It asks to be contemplated.

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7 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Redemption, forgiveness, & love

Author: tuckherinn from United States
11 May 2011

A beautiful movie about life choices, regret, love, lost love, and then the redemptive value of forgiveness. A great movie to bring young adults and teenagers to show them two people who have the same start in life make choices and how those choices changes and moves the lives of all those around them. I was surprised by the power of the message and the beauty of the film. Acting was superb and my teenage boys and their friends that we took with us were deeply moved... as well as I. After the movie, my 14 year old son admitted that he hoped if he died before a natural death it could be as a martyr... he is reconsidering options of priesthood. Thank you for producing and making such a beautiful and touching movie.

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4 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Worth seeing repeatedly

Author: Kalynne Pudner from United States
15 May 2011

This is one of those rare movies that stayed with me long after I left the theater, and made me want to go back for another look (despite having to drive over an hour to do so). Each time, I uncovered some new aspect, and each time I came away thinking it was an even better film than I'd thought before.

It is not a mindless, sit-and-be-entertained, two-hour "recess" from life. Approached this way, it's likely to disappoint: the pacing is slower, the chronological flow more difficult to follow, the dialog less compelling than in the typical Hollywood production.

But the pacing and flashbacks fit the kind of movie it is. There are multiple themes -- freedom through forgiveness, redemption through suffering, experience of the divine through experiences of the ordinary - - and none of them is tied to a particular time or place. Sometimes the themes are stated explicitly, but as I saw it a second and third time, I found they are expressed in unexpectedly subtle ways as well...including the camera work, the lighting and the musical score. In these areas, There Be Dragons does rank with typical Hollywood productions.

Charlie Cox's Josemaria is wonderfully appealing, especially in those scenes where he's evidently struggling to live up to his ideals of holiness. The movie inspired me to find out more about the historical Josemaria and what happened after the final scene...and this knowledge added depth to subsequent viewings. I do wish Manolo were a more sympathetic character and that the interchanges between Roberto and Leila weren't so trite. In my opinion, the difference between the fact-based Josemaria storyline (many of his lines are actual quotes) and the fictional Manolo storyline gives the movie an uneven feel.

Most of the negative reviews I've seen (not including those with obvious grudges against Opus Dei and/or the Catholic Church) take issue with the plot and its mode of development. But what makes this such a worthwhile movie isn't the plot, in itself. What makes it worthwhile is watching the way each of the characters respond to the difficulties they face, whether great (persecution, bereavement) or mundane (fatigue, jealousy), and finding a lesson to apply personally.

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7 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Best Film In Recent Years

Author: Taitai Efe from OH, USA
11 May 2011

You and I know that we belong to a club of hypocrites.

We wish to do the right thing, but many times we do the wrong thing (for whatever reason). Oh, yes, we get scandalized with other peoples' sins. That too.

Well, if you ever wonder Who the heck you are, Where your life is going and/or What is going to happen to you in the end, this is a movie you should watch.

This movie teaches you many things. It shows you a portion of the life of this young Priest and his heroic associates. It shows you the struggle between Good and Evil. More importantly, in the end it reminds you that there ARE dragons in your personal life.

This requires some degree of self-honesty to watch it.

However, if you rather watch another Hollywood inconsequential movie… …I dunno…it is up to you, Dude.

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