The story of three children who saw the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal over a century ago has caught the attention of many people, including our family. The faith of Lucia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto is inspiring not only to children but to adults as well. We were super excited, then, to view a new movie about these three amazing children. Fatima is a full-length movie about the Marian apparitions of 1917.
Pssst… keep reading for your chance to WIN one of THREE free digital screeners of Fatima!
Fatima movie summary
Lucia is playing by herself in a grotto when a stranger approaches her in 1916. This stranger introduces herself as the Angel of Peace and of Portugal. Hesitant at first, Lucia warms to the angel and sees her in other situations later in the movie. The angel shows her a vision of World War I, then unfolding across Europe, including a glimpse of Lucia’s older brother Manuel, who is away fighting. Lucia and the angel pray together, and the angel disappears.
Fatima then flashes forward to Coimbra in 1989, over seventy years later. We follow a writer on his visit to Sister Lucia in her convent. The rest of the movie flashes back and forth between the events of 1917 and Sister Lucia’s conversation with this skeptical writer. Sister Lucia provides some insight into what she saw as a child, and comments on those events.
Lucia and her cousins are pasturing their sheep in the hills near Fatima in 1917 when a beautiful lady appears to them. Jacinta soon tells the story all over town, and the children are met with skepticism and anger. Fatima’s mayor and Lucia’s parents dislike the hordes of pilgrims who begin showing up, hoping to see Our Lady themselves. She continues to appear to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco on the days she promised. Although crowds gather on each day, only the children can see and hear Our Lady. Finally, on her last visit, she gives the crowds their long-requested miracle.
Lucia, as the oldest of the three children, is the spokeswoman for them and the focus of the story. She and her mother make frequent trips to town to listen to the lists of soldiers killed in action being read, hoping they don’t hear Manuel’s name. She faces the most pressure from her family, especially her mother, to deny the apparitions, and struggles with doubts about what she has seen. Jacinta and Francisco, meanwhile, have complete and utter childlike trust in the lady.
As I mentioned, the story of the Fatima children is one of our favourite saint stories. We know this story fairly well and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world in which Lucia and her cousins lived. I thought Fatima did a great job of showing the context of these apparitions, through glimpses of World War I and the anti-Catholic attitudes of Portugal at that time.
We watched Fatima as a family and, for the most part, it was suitable for all ages. There were a few scenes that were confusing to the kids, but nothing that was violent or inappropriate. The scenes from World War I are shown as shadows on a wall. We had to explain why Lucia and her mother kept listening to the Mayor reading the names. The conflict between the mayor, under pressure from the government to stop reports of the apparitions, and his wife, a fervent Catholic who supports Lucia and her cousins, also didn’t make sense to the kids.
One thing that felt unnecessary to all of us was the modern scenes with Sister Lucia and the skeptical writer. Time jumps like that tend to be confusing to the kids. It was also a bit jarring to be immersed in young Lucia’s story and then suddenly be sitting with her and the writer, calmly discussing the very emotional events of seventy years ago. I think the story would have been stronger if the writers had focused simply on the events of 1917 and added more details to that story (or to what happened immediately after the last apparition), instead of trying to show Sister Lucia debating those events with a modern doubter.
The girls all commented on how much they liked the actors and actresses who played the three children. Lucia in particular was well cast. I also liked the costumes of the time—the head coverings worn by most of the women and girls, the plain colours of the homemade dresses.
Fatima is now streaming on demand!
View the movie trailer for a sneak peak at the beauty of Fatima:
Fatima will be available on demand in Canada on August 28th. Look for it on Bell, Cineplex, Cogeco, Rogers, Shaw, Telus or Videotron and watch it as soon as you can! Let’s show streaming services and movie producers that this is the sort of movie we want to see! You can also follow Fatima on Facebook for movie updates.
The message of the film, which is really peace and hope and praying, seems more relevant than ever. I think the crisis we’ve been through will make people more attuned to the message. ~ Bob Berney, CEO of Picturehouse
Discover the miracle of Fatima for yourself—win free digital screener of the movie! Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway open to Canadians only over the age of 18 except where prohibited by law. One lucky winner will be chosen randomly on August 28th and notified via email.