Recently, my family and I enjoyed a movie night featuring the new release, Fatima. This movie, which can be seen in some theaters, is also available on demand. It revisits the Marian apparitions that took place in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. These apparitions are approved by the Catholic Church and are some of the most widely known (and believed in) apparitions in modern times.
A Brief History of Fatima
In Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children—Lucia dos Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto—between May 13 and October 13, 1917. The six apparitions culminated in the Miracle of the Sun, which was seen by thousands of people. After much rain, the sun came out and could be looked upon without difficulty. Then, it began zigzagging and dancing in the sky. Suddenly, it appeared to fall toward Earth, before it returned to its original place.
Since the apparitions took place during World War I, the Fatima apparitions gave people a great amount of hope. But they also angered government officials who were attempting to silence the Catholic Church, as communism grew.
Praises for the Fatima Movie
There are many things I like about the new Fatima movie. Overall, it is well filmed and produced. It is aesthetically pleasing, with lovely cinematography and costumes. The acting is good and believable, too.
I also appreciate that there is a clear and convincing message from the Blessed Mother about the importance of praying the Rosary every day. After seeing this film, there is no questioning what she asks of all of us!
The film also does not skirt around the reality of Hell. The scene of the children seeing a glimpse of Hell is frighteningly realistic.
In the movie, the important message of Fatima is affirmed for those who already have a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. And for those who may be less familiar, the movie does an excellent job of introducing viewers to the apparition and inviting them to learn more. In fact the movie’s website has a marvelous selection of additional resources, including children’s activity sheets, an FAQ page, and a video on how to pray the Rosary.
A Few Criticisms
The new Fatima movie is truly enjoyable. However, certain elements of the apparitions are not explained well. For example, the three secrets of Fatima.
The three secrets of Fatima include:
- A vision of hell.
- A warning for humanity to stop offending God or another war will begin. Mary also warned against the spread of communism and urged the pope to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
- The death of a bishop dressed in white.
While some semblance of the three secrets are included in Fatima, they are unclearly portrayed. Fatima devotees may recognize the various scenes and understand how they are tied to the secrets that Our Lady revealed to the children. However, it is possible that the importance of the secrets is lost to those less familiar with the Fatima apparitions.
Also, a very important part of the second secret, which is Our Lady’s warning about the errors of communism and what might happen if it spreads, is missing entirely from the film.
A Movie for Such a Time as This
Releasing a film about Our Lady of Fatima in 2020 could not be more perfect. In this unprecedented year, the Fatima movie reminds us that the world has endured uncertainty and hardship throughout history. And rather than give into a message of division, hatred, and fear, we must turn to a Heavenly message of hope. Yes, we need the encouraging reminder of Our Blessed Mother to “say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”
That is what this new movie offers.
A Note About the Rating
Fatima is rated PG-13 for images of war, the vision of Hell, and a few short scenes where Lucia may be tormented by the devil. My entire family watched this film, and my children range in age from 17 to nine. Every child is unique, so parents should determine for themselves if this film is appropriate for their child.
Additional Fatima Resources
After seeing Fatima, if you find yourself interested in learning more about the apparitions, here are a few resources for you:
The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (original 1952 movie)
The Day the Sun Danced (animated movie available on Formed)
Our Lady of Fatima by William T. Walsh
Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
For the Kids
Mary and the Little Shepherds of Fatima by Marlyn Monge and Jamie Stuart Wolfe
Our Lady of Fatima: St. Joseph Picture Book by Reverend Lawrence G Lovasik S.V.D.
Have you seen the new Fatima movie? What did you think of it?
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