Following the Passion, another good religious film came out, this one on the life of St. Thérèse of Liseux. See more info at

"Thérèse" had an Oct. 1, 2004 Première

By Fr. Gary Coulter - Contact me Go to Fr. Coulter's Homepage Sign my Guestbook


By Anthony Ryan

Director of Marketing, Ignatius Press
Read his second review, 'I Saw "Thérèse"...Again' at

Recently my wife, Marcia, our 12-year-old son, Sean, and I had the opportunity to attend a private screening of Luke Films' new motion picture, THÉRÈSE, at Sony Studios in Los Angeles. We were part of a mixed crowd of laity, priests and religious. After a brief introduction by director Leonardo Defilippis, the film began.

I tried to approach this film objectively, and as one who knew little about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (even though I have read and helped publish many books about her). I thought, "How can you tell the story of someone's inner life, the 'story of a soul', in a film?" It's a daunting challenge for a filmmaker, to say the least. But that is indeed what the story of "the greatest saint of modern times" is about, as her own autobiography reveals; no grand drama, such as one often encounters in the lives of great saints. But, after all, sanctity is a spiritual reality. It's not so much what we do, it's how, and with what kind of love, we do it. This is, in essence, the heart of "the little way" of Thérèse. But to portray that spiritual reality in a captivating, inspiring, realistic way has not been achieved in any of the previous film attempts on the life of Saint Thérèse. No wonder.

Until now. From the very start of this beautiful film, lovingly made, and produced with unsparing effort to the highest industry standards in every department, Luke Films has pulled off a tremendous cinematic achievement - one that very few filmmakers would even attempt, or come close to attaining. The biggest reason Defilippis succeeds in capturing on film this "inner story" of a great modern saint is because he understands the subject well and tells her story with a spiritual, yet profoundly human approach. This understanding is what he gives to the audience, bringing to life the wonder, inspiration and powerful message of THÉRÈSE.

Thérèse is a saint for all of us, one we all can relate to, and imitate, in her love of God and neighbor in the ordinary events of life. We found her to be portrayed exactly that way in this film Ð like us, but filled with extraordinary love. Lindsay Younce gives a wonderful, convincing performance, and all the others in the film are excellent, especially a man who is, in my opinion, one of the great actors of our time, Leonardo Defilippis, who so movingly plays the father of Thérèse, Louis Martin.

The cinematography is outstanding and has a strong period-piece feel. It comes off almost like a Monet artwork at times. The costumes, props and sets are superb, down to the smallest details. And, most importantly, the musical score is exquisite and deeply inspiring. Numerous touching moments in Thérèse's life are told in such a moving way that at the end of the movie, much of the audience was in tears.

My wife said it well when she remarked "This film makes you feel like you are pulling back the veil and peering into the life of a soul, that very mysterious life of one's relationship to God. It reveals the complete trust this woman had in God's love for her, even in the midst of tremendous suffering and spiritual darkness." Marcia finished by saying, "The portrayal is so natural and unpretentious, I think it perfectly captures the story and spiritual message of Thérèse."

I would agree with her. And that is a major accomplishment on film. Thus, I am convinced that THÉRÈSE, a film about such an incredibly popular and important contemporary saint, has the power to help renew the life of the Church in America. It fills a huge need in our culture and our Church. It will help Catholics especially, to renew their understanding of what it means to be a Catholic. And what it means to be a Catholic family, as so well shown in the love, joy and closeness of the Martin family in this film. And it reminds all of us of the crucial importance of focusing on our daily, ongoing conversion and deeper union with Jesus.

I will do my part, and I hope many, many others will join us, in helping spread strong support for this outstanding film so that it may receive a nationwide theatrical release. If that happens, you can indeed count on that "shower of roses" Saint Thérèse promised to continue to fall upon countless souls who she will inspire in this film to love Jesus with great love and confidence. Please make every effort to help this happen.

You can join Tony in supporting the release of THÉRÈSE by forwarding this letter to all your contacts, and by telling them to visit To make a contribution online please visit and click on the 'Donate Online' link or call us at 1-(800)-683-2998.

See more info at

By Fr. Gary Coulter - Contact me Go to Fr. Coulter's Homepage Sign my Guestbook