Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Holy Game Review: An Insightful And Fun Look At Unconventional Priests

Release date: June 29, 2021
Running time: 67 minutes
Directed By: Brent Hodge and Christopher Kelly,

Beyond the Vatican walls, there is a soccer championship like no other: young priests in seminary from around the world gather to play in the Clericus Cup. ‘THE HOLY GAME’ is a documentary feature about religion, sport, tradition and looks at why anyone in this era would sacrifice so much to become a priest.

The Holy Game is an interesting documentary about a special tournament that showcases the breadth of the Catholic church but also the young students who are hoping to become priests.  The biggest benefit of this film is that it shows these young men in a more natural, demystified form.  Sure they are all devoutly religious and taking their studies seriously, but it is also fun to see them compete and hear some more unfiltered thoughts about the life they have chosen.  Some give interesting reasons for why they chose to enter the priesthood, and others have fun stories about the reactions of friends and significant others to the news.  The film does a good job picking relatable, easy to like individuals for their interviews; they all seem to have good heads on their shoulders and appear to be entering the priesthood for the right reasons.  

But the main subject of The Holy Game is the Clericus Cup itself, the yearly competition between various teams representing the Catholic church from around the globe.  And this is where some of the most fun in the movie happens.  I liked seeing the various teams compete vigorously, supported by intense fans, but still seem to be playing for a higher purpose.  I liked seeing the teams shake hands at the end of the game and even come together for a group prayer; it showed intense competition without the bitterness and pettiness that you can sometimes see in sports.  And again, this shows these individuals as normal people, with celebrations, some minor showboating, and an fierce competition.  And the film also showcases some quirks about the Clericus Cup, including the very interesting blue card.  

But the film isn't just about the cup, despite the name.  The movie is also a look into the modern priesthood and the type of people that would still choose that life in our current times.  In this it generally succeeds as it paints these individuals in a very positive light.  But the movie also tries to address some of the recent scandals in the Catholic church, and I think in this respect the film stumbles.  The movie devotes a short amount of time to those topics, and in a film with a relatively short run time it feels like this should have been more fleshed out.  You essentially get one viewpoint on each scandal, hardly enough to get a good feel for how those scandals have affected the church and these individuals.  I don't know if it would have been better to just not address it, but it feels like these were slapped in and not given the attention that they deserve.  In that respect, these feel like incomplete threads of the greater story.  But overall I enjoyed my time seeing this unique tournament and the charismatic participants.

The Holy Game is an interesting look at a devout tournament that highlights the unique players and rules of this game and serves to demystify and humanize the priesthood through soccer.

Watch it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
The Holy Game is available digitally and on demand on June 29, 2021 .  

For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.

This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.  

No comments:

Post a Comment