Indeed, anyone in the film could die at any moment, and many of them do. Some are executed—like one of Josemaría ’s fellow priests—some die a bloody death in riots or battle, and some are just plain murdered. War is an ugly business, and There Be Dragons does not sugarcoat it, which makes the few moments when someone acts nobly shine all the brighter

When the church is outlawed, Josemaría goes to great lengths to continue ministering to his besieged flock, living in hiding, hearing confession at the zoo, and conducting clandestine services. He’s not a plaster saint, prone to the same doubts and fears as his followers but steadfast in his faith. As conditions worsen, he and a small band of followers are forced to flee over the mountains to safety.

Meanwhile, Manolo’s situation is coming to a crisis. What lengths will he go to in order to save his skin? What effect will that have on the woman he professes to love? Betrayal, revenge, remorse ... it’s all here, and the telling of it will change Manolo’s relationship with his son forever.

There Be Dragons is based on a true story. It’s refreshing to see a profile of someone like Josemaría, whose love for God is deep and where God is reverenced rather than reviled. As a Protestant there were parts of this story I wasn’t sure I “got” but the final message was clear. “Nothing can change the past, but forgiveness can change the future. When you forgive you set someone free—yourself.”

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:Probably, but not highlighted.
  • Language/Profanity:Not as much as one might expect in a war film: the d-word, references to kissing (and kicking) a**, pri**
  • Sex/Nudity:Promiscuity discussed, one couple shown after an encounter.
  • Violence:The majority of the film is made up of scenes of violence, destruction, and death. Beatings, bombs, and bullets abound. Also one scene of self-flagellation.