"A sleeper that will remain in my top 10! When I ordered this DVD I knew a bit about the life of Fr. Damien but nothing about the film. I expected it to be "pleasant fare" but not much better. What a surprise! Molokai is as near to being a perfect film as could ever be made. It is an interesting and inspiring story that is told without any of the over-sentimentality one might expect from a "religious" film. The screenplay is wonderful - absolutely believable and natural dialogue delivered flawlessly. The cinematography is breathtaking and the soundtrack is, well, I'm going to track it down to buy it - a first for me. So much for the technical stuff. Fr. Damien was an extraordinary individual and an ideal priest. The film portrays this with great respect as it does with the Catholic Church in general - another rarity these days!
There are at least a dozen scenes that stand out as illustrations of true virtue in practice and from which we can draw inspiration to improve our own characters. This is a beautiful film in every sense and will remain in my top 10 list of all time great movies. "
(B. G. - Fairfield, CT)
"Powerful and challenging! This biography of Father Damien, the Catholic priest who in 1873 volunteered for service on the Hawaiian leper colony of Molokai. For 15 years Damien ministered nearly single-handedly to the quarantined community, supplying what medication he could procure while struggling against the red tape from organizations (religious and governmental) that would rather have forgotten all about the thousands of people dying in primitive conditions. He won some battles and lost others, finally succumbing to the disease himself in 1888. The films earnestness led to the who's-who supporting cast (Sam Neill, Derek Jacobi, Peter O'Toole, Leo McKern, Kate Ceberano and Kris Kristofferson), but it is David Wenham who must carry the film as Damien, which he does spectacularly and with a touching humility, but with the spirit to fight for those he serves, in the midst of such conflict.
Director Paul Cox was inspired in his choices of choosing scenes to highlight 15 years in a single film not two hours long. He uses amazing cinematographic tools to convey the story and the passage of time, a tree stand planted by Damien, the many construction projects he carries out, and watching `Little Bishop' grow up and pass away. Pay particular attention to the music, and the use of the sound of the wind as the film progresses. This is a story of faith and of service. If you want a film that will challenge your spirit and cause you to examine your own life in the light of the service given by others you could not pick a better film. The Toronto Globe and Mail stated about the film "A Triumph of the Human Spirit!" Though this film did well at the film festivals it had little or no mainstream release in North America. After seeing this film I have been driven to track down books about Damien and the situation there on Molokai.
In watching this film be prepared to be challenged."
(S. M. - Canada)
"This is truly an epic gem. A film that not only chronicles a portion of Father Damien's life, but also captures his undying devotion to God. In a grand way, it is Father Damien's story of selflessly helping those people who were stricken with the terrible disease of leprosy. In it's quieter moments, it is a reflection of the lives who were touched by the kindness of one man and uplifted by his never ending faith in God. The film is masterfully photographed by Nino Martinetti and poetically directed by Paul Cox. With a screenplay by John Briley (Oscar winner for Gandhi) and a brilliant cast featuring David Wenham, Kris Kristofferson, Peter O'Toole, Aden Young, Sam Neil, Derek Jacobi, Kate Ceberano and the list goes on. Even the music is beautifully composed by Paul Grabowsky and Wim Mertens and features a wonderful symphonic score mixed with traditional Hawaiian chanting.
The DVD contains the film in letterbox format (2.35:1) and a wonderfully informative documentary showing the difficulties encountered in filming on location at Kalaupapa on the island of Moloka'i."
(P. M. - Waipahu, HI)
"EXCELLENT MOVIE!! This is what all movies should be like. This is the true story of Fr. Damien, a priest who treated the Leper people of Molokai. It depicts the very sad situation that these people faced being exiled to this island with really nothing. Fr. Damien works hard to provide the necessary things for his patients/people. It is a movie of love for the human being. I was deeply touched. You will not be disappointed."
(E. P. - Park Ridge, IL)
"This is an excellent video that gets to the heart of the Christian life; self-sacrificing love and compassion. The acting is superb, the dialogue is incredibly vivid and the believability of the characters in the story, make it the best testament of the joy and pain of living life fully in the midst of tremendous suffering. This movie is a great inspiration and a masterpiece."
(J. H. - University Park, PA)