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On Netflix: The Churchmen - Printable Version

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On Netflix: The Churchmen - myotch - 08-29-2017

4 episodes in.

First, the bad: it's in French. Subtitles are a little annoying.

The good: everything else. So far.

It's a drama that follows a handful of young seminarians in the Capuchin order. They are young, so there's a lot of examination of philosophy, the idea of "calling", religion. It's a little "Breakfast Club"-by, where the central cast of students represent a range of socio-economic classes; I wonder if it's even boy-band-ish that way.

And they lead complex and varying lives away from Seminary, spread across the glamour and gutters of Paris. Even unwise in their calling and application, they are always noble.

The headmaster priest is a wisened veteran, a liberal, and a leader of an order that reports to the heads of Rome. He recognizes his own shortcomings, usually a failure to see how the the application of rules reduce the humanity of others, or his distaste for his Bishop.

The heirarchy in Rome is presented as more than a little underhanded, manipulative of an old and clueless Pope Gregory who, in his introductory scene, seems more preoccupied with his own mystic dream about American Indians than Vatican business.

Yet it all seems so respectful of the faith, respectful of the hardship of priestly life, understanding of youthful ambitions and moral frailties.

While the lives of the seminarians and seminary priests are deep and identifiable, the larger stories, the local intrigue, the Vatican foibles seem paper thin, almost campy, light, or B-movie worthy. Which helps keep the focus on these young men.