Whether or not you are Catholic, "Mass Appeal" is an excellent film because it gets you to think. It may offend you--but it certainly will get you to think. Because of this, it's well worth seeing.
The film begins with a priest (Jack Lemmon) having an unusual service. Instead of a pre-written sermon, he opens the floor to questions. The problem is, a young man (Zeljko Ivanek) asks some interesting questions about women in the priesthood--and the priest isn't prepared to actually answer any questions of substance.
Later, Lemmon is called to the local seminary for a meeting--there are rumors two of the students might be gay. When he arrives, he sees the same young man who interrupted his meeting and realizes he's one of the seminary students. Ivanek further makes a nuisance of himself by defending the two accused students. In fact, the Monsignor (Charles Durning) is ready to keep Ivanek from the priesthood forever. But, despite the young man irritating him, Lemmon defends him--and is punished by Durning. The punishment--having to take this young seminarian under his wing as his new assistant. Unfortunately, things do NOT go smoothly--and all sorts of chaos occurs because the young man is too independent a thinker and he asks too many questions.
The film will likely offend some Catholics. You can't get around that. The subjects of gay or female clergy clearly are not acceptable to many folks. However, even if you believe this to be true, I like how the film gets you to think and listen to other opinions. And, now that I think about it, it's a rare film because it makes you think. In addition to a thought-provoking script, the film also has some great acting and it's a film that doesn't underestimate the audience's intelligence. Well worth seeing regardless of your faith.
By the way, one of the producers of the film was Joan Kroc. She was the wife of Ray Kroc (the founder of McDonald's) and owner of the San Diego Padres. It was her only foray into films.
January 15, 2023 at 12:09 AM
1 hr 39 min