The mild charm of a comic fable about contempo Catholic monks is offset by the hokey approach taken in “Blessed Art Thou.” Writer-director Tim Disney’s first feature has some pertinent things to say about the ironic unlikelihood that church leaders would accept a miracle akin to those that contribute to the religion’s central tenants. But pic feels more like sitcom than genuinely spiritual comedy, making TV/cable and video much more suitable venues than theatrical release.
Set at a bucolic monastery in rural California, tale pivots on the “miraculous” pregnancy of Brother Anselm (M.E. Hackett), who insists that “he” came by his condition after a visit from Gabriel. Reactions run the gamut from the sympathy/skepticism/hostility of the older monks to the support of the younger brothers. Central issue of the need to accept certain events on faith — and the inability of church elders to do so — creates a dialectic that’s engaging up to a point. But the film is too cutesy by half, playing out more like a burlesque of monastic life than as a credible tale with an extraordinary dimension. Lovely locations and lensing make for easy watching.