Not quite as incendiary as it was when it was first released in 1994, or as the theme might suggest, Priest tells the moving, truly provocative story of one clergyman’s struggle for sexual identity and religious idealism.
Linus Roache gives a stirring performance as Father Greg, a newly transferred priest assigned to a parish in a working-class neighborhood of Liverpool. As he comes into conflict with the liberal Father Matthew (Tom Wilkinson, terrific as always), whi is having a scandalous affair with the housekeeper (Cathy Tyson), Father Greg tries to come to terms with his emerging sexuality.
As the heart of this classic film is also the touching story of a sexually abused teen (Christine Tremarco) who confides in Father Greg, thus engaging him in a crisis on conscience.
A remarkably compelling debate on religious dogma, one intended to provoke thought and stir your emotions, Priest made a whole lot of waves when its premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (where it won the People’s Choice Award) back in 1994 – and went onto a wide release in early 1995. The film was loudly condemned by the Catholic Church in Ireland, who called for a ban. Using sound judgement, the Irish Film Censor Board decided to go ahead and allow it to be released… on Easter weekend, no less. This marked one of the first major disagreements between the Church and the Board.