Upon first glance of the title, one may write off “The Good Catholic” as just another faith movie. While the film does deal a great bit in faith, it’s more about a man’s faith in himself than faith in God.
Written and directed by Paul Shoulberg, the film tells the story of Father Daniel (Zachary Spicer), a young priest whom, after the death of his father, joined the clergy as a means to make his father proud. He lives with Father Victor (Danny Glover), a strict, but loving mentor and Ollie (John C. McGinley), an eccentric, carbohydrate-addicted friar.
During a late night confession, Daniel meets a young woman, Jane (Wrenn Schmidt), who uses confession as a means to make funeral arrangements for herself. Though initially confused, Daniel becomes determined to help Jane and a deep friendship develops. As the two become more enamored with each other, Daniel finds himself torn between his relationship with God and his romantic feelings for Jane.
While the film does display a test of Daniel’s faith in God as well as faith in himself, the film also displays a subtle look at depression and suicidal thoughts. When we first meet Jane, she tells Daniel she’s dying and constantly repeats it throughout the film even though she never gets into specifics. Even Daniel notes she doesn’t seem sickly, but Jane always puts up the defensive when he questions her. Schmidt’ performance as Jane displays the character’s inner pain so well that we as the audience don’t need to know why she feels this way, just that she does, and that Daniel is the only person keeping her alive.
The characters of Ollie and Victor each serve as a subtext for Daniel’s family. Victor as the stern father figure who wishes for Daniel to put his faith first and honor his commitment to God, while Ollie serves as the fun-loving, laid back older brother figure that feels Daniel should follow his heart.
“The Good Catholic” is a beautifully-acted, heart-warming tale that is a true testament to having faith, whether it be religiously-based, faith in yourself, or faith in love. One shouldn’t shy away from the film because of his religiously-themed title, but instead follow the true theme of the film itself and open their minds to new opportunities.