Reviewed at Munich Film Festival, July 2, 1993. Running time: 93 MIN.
Georg Mittenzwey … Timothy Peach
Eva Buschbaum … Heike Falkenberg
Bishop … Alexander May
Housekeeper … Barbara Gallauner
Franz … Robert Giggenbach
Monika … Elena Rublack
Mother … Luise Deschauer
After “The Nasty Girl,” Michael Verhoeven disappoints with a great topical subject, fine direction and performances, but a story that dips off into pedantry and anticlimax. Meant to dramatize the love affair of a priest, pic ends up feeling more like an open letter against celibacy to the Catholic Church. Subject and Verhoeven’s reputation could draw enough moviegoers for theatrical and festival release in Germany, but drab word of mouth will work against it.
Story’s two biggest sins are didacticism and lack of structure. As it begins, the affair between the young priest, Georg (Timothy Peach) and a member of his flock, Eva (Heike Falkenberg), is already in full swing. Their dilemma now is over how not to get caught.
The drama has trouble climbing. When Eva discovers she is pregnant the film dissolves into a tirade against celibacy. Those interested in the characters will feel cheated.
But the film is not without merits. Small graces attest to Verhoeven’s abilities. In one throat-clutching scene an elderly woman gives the priest a handmade baby jacket… but it turns out to be a covering for a hot water bottle. Other nice moments include the less than alarmed reactions to Georg’s transgression on the part of his bishop and his best friend, a Jesuit.