Friday, October 16, 2009

Culture Notes: "Into Temptation"

Into Temptation is another movie dealing with priests, celibacy, etc. but more interesting because it was made by Patrick Coyle, the son of an ex-Catholic seminarian who left to get married.

Official Movie Synopsis:

John Buerlein works the crossword while old women confess the sins of their husbands and the homeless sleep it off in quiet pews--just another day at St. Mary Magdalen’s Downtown Catholic Church where he is the overworked, underpaid pastor.

His shift is nearly over when a beautiful call girl enters, Linda, to confess a sin she hasn’t committed yet:

“I’m going to kill myself. On my birthday. And I’m Aries, Father, so I don’t have a lot of time.”

Then she disappears and Fr. John sets out to find her.

Along the way he befriends an ex-prizefighter, a street-smart librarian, a renegade street-whore, an omniscient cab driver, and a moody pimp who quotes Robert Frost. Together this ad-hoc congregation sets out to save a life…and possibly redeem their own.

Fr. John is hit, hit-on, held at knife point, treated to a peep show, and informed by the archdiocese in no uncertain terms that his career is in jeopardy if he doesn’t cease and desist.

Then his first love turns up after 20 years, as beautiful as ever, to tell him she is divorced and that she never stopped loving him. He was her first. She was his only. Shockingly, John’s mother encourages the reunion.

When John emerges from his descent into the world of pornography and prostitution to stand again before his congregation, he is a profoundly changed man, as are the members of his church who now hang on his every word.

The Director's Background

Patrick Coyle tells the story of his father, his inspiration for the character of Fr. John in an article in Moving Pictures:

My dad was the baby of a big Irish family that emigrated from County Mayo in Ireland and finally settled in Omaha, Nebraska. It was decided he would be "the family priest" by his mother, Margaret, at a very early age. Every proper Irish Catholic family ought to have one, or so went the prevailing turn-of-the-century thought (20th, not 21st.), and Margaret was a woman who got her way...

...So, when the time came, Jimmy went off to seminary and all was well in Grandma Margaret's world. Enter my mother, Margaret Mary Quinlan, 5-feet-2, eyes of blue, a mountain of singing talent, cute as a button and not afraid to have some fun on a dance floor. My dad heard her sing the Ave Maria in church one Sunday and went "backstage" for an introduction after mass. Eight children later, including yours truly, the rest is history. My dad went to work as a traveling salesman after serving his country in WWII.

...I began to wonder, one day, what kind of priest my dad would have made. Out came Into Temptation.

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