An ambitious American veteran turned priest (Christopher Reeve, Somewhere In Time) journeys to Rome to take his assignment as the Vatican’s new treasurer. But upon his arrival he finds the holy coffer nearly bare, and he takes it upon himself to refill it, striking illegal business deals with a U.S. Army sergeant with ties to the Italian Mob. The young priest’s morality is corrupted even further when he meets and seduces a beautiful young woman (Genevieve Bujold) on her way to becoming a nun. Can his faith save him before his sins condemn him?
From director Frank Perry (Mommie Dearest) Monsignor is a tale of ambition, greed, lust and power, boasting stellar performances from supporting cast members including Jason Miller (The Exorcist), Fernando Rey (The French Connection) and Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix).
I have never seen Monsignor before, but as a fan of Christopher Reeve, I have heard about it. From what I heard, it is at best cheesy and at its worst, just downright bad. After finally having watched the film, which was released last month by Shout! Factory, I can say I disagree with the latter. The movie IS cheesey at times, almost in a Soap Opera-like way. Despite that, it is not a horrible film, because it is fun to watch and almost all of that is because of Reeve, whose charisma carries the story through some otherwise difficult to swallow twists and turns.
Oh and it does not hurt that the film score is by John Williams.
While I enjoyed Monsignor, mostly because of Reeve, the movie is not for everyone. I was watching the film with someone who did a lot of eye rolling and occasionally some riffing, which actually made the film more enjoyable for both of us. So if you have some clever folks in your life, invite them over to watch it with you. Banter can help make any challenging film better and while I can fawn over the performance of an actor, I can still admit when the movie they are starring in is sometimes an uphill battle.
Monsignor on DVD [@] Amazon