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The Good Catholic

Awkward romantic comedy about an earnest young priest (Zachary Spicer), already undergoing a crisis of faith, who finds himself in turmoil after a vaguely bohemian and religiously indifferent coffee house singer (Wrenn Schmidt) appears in the confessional claiming she is terminally ill and seeking not absolution in preparation for death but funeral arrangement advice. The unlikely pair embarks on a friendship made tense by mutual attraction, a relationship that eventually forces the cleric to reassess his commitment to the church. His experienced and by-the-book pastor (Danny Glover) tries to reinforce his sense of vocation while the mildly eccentric Franciscan friar (John C. McGinley) who rounds out the rectory household is mostly on hand to provide comic relief, though little of the humor works. While free of sensationalism, writer-director Paul Shoulberg's film, inspired by his parents' marital history, predictably portrays celibacy as a burdensome shackle and erotic love as a necessary ingredient in self-realization. Since the background story casts doubt on the legitimacy of the main character's call in the first place, some Catholic viewers may be accepting of — if hardly comfortable with — the movie's outcome.

Watch out for: Religious themes requiring mature discernment, at least one rough and several crude and crass terms and an obscene gesture.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017