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Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999)

  Directed by: Paul Cox
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, David Wenham
Links: Molokai: The Story of Father Damien on the IMDb, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2002 (nominee)

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Human Touch (2004) and pearly's review of The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky (2001).

"A well told story" - a review by pearly

I've always watched films that are based on a true story with a different level of interest to purely fictional stories. I love being able to sit there and think "wow - this really happened to someone". This is most definitely the case with Molokai: The Story of Father Damien.

Molokai is the story of a priest named Damien who volunteers to go to the island of Molokai and establish a parish there for the island's inhabitants: a leper colony. The story traces Damien's life as he attempts to better the conditions on the island, with the help (or not) of the Catholic church and the government.

Much of the film was shot on location on the island of Molokai; the beauty of the island and its surrounds contrasts the lepers' appearance. Director Paul Cox does a magnificent job with the subject matter, and establishes himself as a director to watch - this being, in Australia, a follow-up to the brilliant Innocence (2000) (which, incidentally, was made after Molokai, but was shown here long before).

I cannot say any bad things about David Wenham, who plays Damien. Playing a Belgian, he has an accent throughout the film, which he manages to pull off really well. He has amazing range as an actor, and he carries the movie (if it needed carrying).

While I appreciate that scripts based on actual events can only ever tell a story from one point of view (and with Molokai there appears to be more than just a little bias), it is difficult not to get swept up in the injustices of Damien's story. This is definitely a film worth seeing.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 25 Jul 2002

Movie review statistics

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Reader comments

  1. I saw the movie when it was shown on Molokai. I had to watch it twice, once to see who were the people I knew and how they were made-up for the parts. The second time to see what the movie was all about. Not a bad movie for non-fiction.

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from mcai on Wed 10 Sep 2003 12:30 #

  2. i watched this movie when I was in school. It is OK, but graphic in some parts. overall, very moving

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from sophia on Mon 17 Nov 2003 18:48 #

  3. neva seen da movie...

    A comment from sumone on Tue 29 Jun 2004 16:17 #

  4. westside

    A comment from schele on Wed 15 Jun 2005 02:23 #

  5. this movie was extremely sad and made me realise how lucky we really are

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from Tamara on Thu 10 Nov 2005 10:04 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 8.00 (3 ratings)

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