Movie evaluate: Clemency and Saint Frances

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“THESE services are really the only time that (prisoners) can scream and roar and get all that stuff out. Even if it is a gospel song. "So the chaplain tells the overseer (prison governor) in Clemency (Cert. 15), now in cinemas and online (Curzon Home Cinema). But how does the guard Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) deal with her own demons, who emerge from the Surveillance of the death penalty?

It took a long time, but when she witnessed a botched lethal injection, she tipped over the edge. Woodward appears with dignified restraint and yet makes it clear how painfully she sanctions the execution of a fellow human being. Director Chinonye Chukwu did a prison drama very differently from those that expose the horrors of detention or unlawful arrest.

Pierrepoint, the 2005 film about Britain's least recent executioner, is somewhat similar to this film, although it lacks the scale of the death penalty, as is the case in most American countries. Clemency examines the balance between mercy and justice. Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge) has waited many years for the final sentence to be uttered. We don't know if he's a murderer or not, there are enough doubts.

Williams conscientiously respects her allegations. It informs them about their rights, tries to meet their requirements and acts fairly. One has the feeling that sometimes it is more about the letter of the law than about his mind. Her inflexibility can be attributed to the fact that she is a woman, a black woman who is nervous in the world of a white man. Not risking criticism takes its toll on your wellbeing. Who can she contact in times of need? Filling emotions has alienated her husband despite his care efforts. She has a good working relationship with her deputy, although she is reluctant to remove growing misery.

The chaplain, Father Kendricks (Michael O’Neill), notes that she always calls him when an execution is imminent. He is the one standing next to her while lethal doses are injected. Shortly before retiring, he admits his own need for healing. "If it were up to me, I would stay. I've always been attracted to this kind of work, but my wife started seeing things in me the nights I get home."

In the meantime, it becomes clear that the quiet presence of Woods, whose life is in balance, has developed a different kind of service. When Williams tacitly allows himself to enter this man's world without power, she is led into a new vision of humanity. Alfre Woodard as Bernardine Williams, the American prison guard who oversees the executions in ClemencyThis largely corresponds to the ideas of the L’Arche community. At Clemency, we knew that Williams, like others, wanted wholeness. Kendricks, referring to Romans 8.39, assures Woods that nothing can separate them from God's love. (The script addresses an audience with multiple beliefs and omits the Jesus piece of the sentence.) As the film progresses, we have to judge who best acts mercifully – and whether Williams needs forgiveness just as urgently as anyone else.

It is not entirely clear why the film Saint Frances (Cert. 15) bears this title. Yes, there is a six-year-old character with this name played by Ramona Edith-Williams. The canonization, however, seems to be far away for them. In any case, the film is not primarily about the child, but about his nanny. She is Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan), a dilapidated Roman Catholic 34-year-old who is still a crazy confused child. She pretends to hate the church after going to one of her schools, but as the saying goes, "Once Catholic, Always Catholic."

Bridget quits her job as a waitress to become a nanny. She starts working for Frances & # 39; stressed mother Maya (Charin Alvarez) who has just had a baby boy. It is a Roman Catholic household, and Maya is an ardent believer. We see them regularly at prayer. It feels like a desperate attempt to regain self-esteem since she can barely cope with postnatal depression. A fridge magnet confirms "Unborn Lives Matter".

This seems to be in direct contrast to Bridget's own views. She finds herself pregnant and rejects it as a cluster of cells the size of a pea. Alex Thompson's film was billed as a brave look at taboo subjects. We certainly get close-ups of menstruation and abortion. The latter is the result of Bridget and her sexual partners who rely on Coitus Interruptus as a contraceptive. Her current friend Jace (Max Lipchitz) is with her, but she is firmly told that they are not in a relationship, but only hang out together. She refuses to discuss options other than the termination. It is typical of Bridget's failure to acknowledge the validity of feelings, whether others or their own. Marketed as a comedy, it's actually a pretty miserable piece.

The film offers the opportunity to question the prevailing expectations of what women should expect from life. Bridget is told that time is not on her side, which is called the geriatric uterus, no career ladder, and the lack of a significant other. It takes some effort to find out where Bridget is from. She is a well-educated woman with a job for which she is unsuitable. It's more about Frances taking care of Bridget than the other way around.

A turning point occurs when the son is baptized. Then Frances, who has a habit of running away, hides in the priestly section of a confession box. When Bridget enters the box, the child, who is wise beyond her years, advises. This is a moment of truth; because it signals the knowledge that nobody has sewn life completely. Few of us are what we seem.

Bridget's skepticism, if not about Christianity, then about her denominational background, seems to be another front, something you can be easier against than knowing what you are for. She learns something from the other characters, especially from Frances, for whom every day is a journey of discovery. Life may be confusing, but hey, we're all together – maybe Bridget will notice that she's even with others in the church.

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