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18 user 22 critic

The Letters (2014)

PG | | Drama | 4 December 2015 (USA)
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A drama that explores the life of Mother Teresa through letters she wrote to her longtime friend and spiritual advisor, Father Celeste van Exem over a nearly 50-year period.

Director:

William Riead

Writer:

William Riead
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Juliet Stevenson ... Mother Teresa
Max von Sydow ... Father Celeste van Exem
Rutger Hauer ... Father Bejamin Praagh
Priya Darshini Priya Darshini ... Shubashini Das
Kranti Redkar Kranti Redkar ... Deepa Ambereesh
Aapo Pukk Aapo Pukk ... (Young) Fr. van Exem
Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal ... Mother General (as Mahabanoo Kotwal)
Kaizaad Kotwal Kaizaad Kotwal ... Archbishop Perrier
Vijay Maurya ... Maharaj Singh (as Maurya Vijaykumar Lalji)
Tillotama Shome ... Kavitha Singh
Mark Bennington ... Graham Widdecombe
Vivek Gomber Vivek Gomber ... Ashwani Sharma
Pravishi Das Pravishi Das ... Dinsha Sahu
Deepak Dadhwal Deepak Dadhwal ... Nicholas Gomes (as Deepak Dhadwal)
Rajendra Gupta Rajendra Gupta ... Atal Rajendra Singhji
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Storyline

Mother Teresa (Juliet Stevenson), recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of modern times. Her selfless commitment changed hearts, lives and inspired millions throughout the world. The film is told through personal letters she wrote over the last forty years of her life and reveal a troubled and vulnerable woman who grew to feel an isolation and an abandonment by God. The story is told from the point of view of a Vatican priest (Max Van Sydow) charged with the task of investigating acts and events following her death. He recounts her life's work, her political oppression, her religious zeal, and her unbreakable spirit..

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The epic life story of Mother Teresa

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material including some images of human suffering | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 December 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le lettere di Madre Teresa See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$700,683, 6 December 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$1,646,574, 24 January 2016
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The characters in the slums of Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) pronounced their names in the Hindi way (when speaking in English) and in the Bengali way (when speaking in Bengali). (e.g. Kavitha is pronounced more like Kobita in Bengali) See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Screenings: The Letters/Spotlight (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Patricide
(from the motion picture Gladiator (2000))
Written by Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard
Courtesy of Universal Studios/Paramount Pictures
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User Reviews

 
A Saint to Many
3 December 2015 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. All we need is one more miracle. Having been beatified with one "confirmed" miracle, it's that missing second one that stands between Mother Teresa and Sainthood. At times the film from director William Rilead plays like a highlight reel for Mother Teresa's induction into the Catholic Hall of Fame, as the dual emphasis is on all the good things she did for the poor, as well as the surprising sense of isolation and abandonment she felt most of her life.

The film is structured in flashback form as a priest played by Rutger Hauer is charged with researching the case for canonizing the late Mother Teresa. He crosses paths with Father Celeste van Exem (Max von Sydow), who shares the saved correspondence from Mother Teresa that provides the title of the movie. These very personal letters spanned 50 years and act much as a journal of her work and emotions.

Most of the movie takes us through the progression of Mother Teresa's life. A slump-shouldered Juliet Stevenson portrays the nun as a woman on a mission from God … despite the obstacles from her detractors: jealous and disapproving nuns, many in the Catholic Church, and even some of the local citizens whom she desired to help. Her commitment to assist "the poorest of the poor" placed her in some tough situations and undesirable environments. She seemed to take on the suffering of those she was serving.

Given her proclamation that "It's God's will, not mine", the Vatican approved her plan to go outside the Loreto Order to serve the poor. Two years later, her application for a new order was approved, resulting in the congregation of The Missionaries of Charity. Her mission then had structure and backing, and so began to make real progress.

Capturing the essence of this woman is what the film does best. We absolutely understand how she became "an icon of compassion for all religions" by giving "voice to the poor". Perhaps, given the times we are in, this ability to serve multiple religions could itself by considered a miracle. As with any person who serves others, Mother Teresa had (and has) her detractors and critics. She (like her Catholic Church) opposed contraception … despite the needs within the community she served. Others accused her of mismanaging the millions in contributions, and spending too much effort recruiting new Catholics. Again, those accusations are not the purpose of the film, which instead profiles a woman who helped so many who otherwise would have been ignored in their misery.

As a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1979, her commitment to the cause resulted in her most public recognition and brought her full circle from an early line of dialogue: "I may not be wanted here, but I am needed." Regardless of the Catholic rule book requirements, it's difficult to imagine a modern day person more worthy of being considered a Saint.


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