"I would cut 30 minute to make a tighter film, but excesses included there is certainly something for everyone, especially those middle of the road skeptics and lukewarm believers like the film's main character." Quick take on the film The Triumph.
I do not usually view overtly religious movies and can also be overly critical, since I once worked in the independent film industry as a festival prescreener. With a running time of about 1 hour and 50 minutes, most of the film follows Ben, a middle of the road skeptic and believer in his late twenties who comes to Medjugorge from Ohio to experience first hand the reports of apparitions and to watch Marjia, to whom Mary the Queen of Peace has been revealing herself and giving "secret" messages to the world since 1981.
We are given a cross section of the variety of religious pilgrims, who all appear as rather ordinary people. Additional time is spent visiting the nearby Cococello community, an intentional faith community assisting men with addictions in finding peace and wholeness, and a brief visit with an Imam at a nearby mosque.
I enjoyed meeting the various people and thought the film crew did a good job of presenting the beauty of the small village and the aura of peace amongst large gatherings of people from many different places. It was described at one point as being "a Catholic Woodstock." The one on one moments with Marjia are among the best in the film as she exudes warmth, joy and an attentive pastoral sensibility, especially when speaking with Ben in some of the finest down to earth spiritual direction I've seen.
The Cococello community and its priestly representative, although a bit quirky, also provides an example of humans seeking authentic living in humbleness of our weaknesses and service in love of God and neighbor. While I wish more time had been spent with the Islamic community and felt the apocalyptic suggestive imagery of the movie to be its weaker parts, I found myself better centered and at peace by film's end. Indeed as is said in the movie, despite some dire warnings and the sense that there are troubles ahead, Marjia and other believers show an overwhelming gladness and joy because of the love of Mary, who reminds us of God's fatherly love for us.
Without spoiling "the end" it's not always clear what the title of the movie refers to: Is it Mary's Triumph? God's ultimate glory? Is it what each receives as their own miracle and transformation? For myself, I think of the first two verses of Richard Gillard's hymn SERVANT SONG where he asks "Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you? Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant too. The second verse follows: "We are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road, we are meant to help each other, walk a mile and bear the load.