Stations of the Cross had my attention and held it all the way to the end. This 107 minute long drama is for an age 15 plus audience. It stars Lea van Acken as Maria, Franziska Weisz as her mother, Florian Stetter as Father Weber, Lucie Aron as Bernadette and Moritz Knapp as Christian.
Like the stations of the cross, this film is segmented into 14 scenes, going from strength to strength till it reaches its final destination.
Maria's family are very staunch in their faith, and their young priest passionate about his preachings and teachings that gives a lot of weight to making sacrifices. The sect of Catholicism they belong to is called the Society of St Pius XII who believe only they follow the true faith. Not unlike the scene of the 'Last Supper' the film opens with Father Weber sitting at the centre of a long table surrounded by his students on either side. They're all about to be 'Confirmed' in a weeks time and this is their last religious lesson before the Confirmation ceremony.
Maria leaves her religious class fuelled with the thought of making sacrifices of herself for the deep love she has for God. In love with the thought of how wonderful it would be for her to become a saint to be close to God, she goes about fending off every natural urge as a human being in her decision to sacrifice her life for Him.
She has 3 other siblings, a father with not a lot to say, a mother who is very dominant and religious, and an Au Pair whom she admires and loves.
As is traditional, Maria goes to Confession before her confirmation ceremony. Being devout she confesses every little one of her sins, and as she does, it becomes apparent to her that according to the teachings of her faith, she needs to make sacrifices to atone for all her sins.
Warding off all temptations, including the beginnings of a blooming friendship with young Christian, Maria decides to make sacrifices of herself not only to atone for her sins, but to gain something she most wants from the deepest place in her heart.
First and foremost this is a beautifully well made film. The performances by the three main characters, Maria, her mother and the priest are so strong and believable at times you have the natural urge to respond strongly to the strong emotions evoked in you by the film. I do believe even if you're not religious, you would appreciate how the particular teachings of the sect Maria and her family follows, coupled with a mother who rules with an iron glove, could drive a young vulnerable soul to her ultimate desire.
As you are drawn into this powerful film, you will be forced to engage in events as they unfold, scene after scene. Slow moving as it may be, you won't be able to tear yourself away from it if you appreciate the amazing story telling and acting talent before your eyes. You will stand by helplessly till it reaches its conclusion. I assure you, this movie will draw from the wells of your deepest emotions. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.