Glenn Holstein's portrait of Father Mychal Judge, the New York City Fire Department chaplain who died during the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, is aptly titled. This impressively mounted, feature-length eulogy for the courageous Franciscan friar who devoted his life to bringing peace, solace and reconciliation to all in need makes a compelling argument for canonization, though given the nature of Father Mychal's sexuality, it may not be one the Vatican wants to hear. Told primarily through the first-hand reminiscences of people whose lives he touched, as well as the words of Father Mychal himself (some captured on tape, others read by Sir Ian McKellen), the film charts a varied career, from a Depression-era childhood in Brooklyn, the early death of his Irish immigrant father and Mychal's entrance into St. Joseph's Seraphic Seminary at 15, to his decision to return to New York City in the 1980s after ministering to three New Jersey parishes. The reason: Father Mychal felt it his calling to minister to those stricken with AIDS, many gay and denied spiritual solace by a judgmental Church. Holstein's interviewees also attest to a life overflowing with good works, from Father Mychal's risky sojourn in Northern Ireland with an injured New York City on a mission to forgive the man who shot him, to the succor Father Mychal provided grieving friends and families of the victims of TWA Flight 800, which crashed off the eastern end of Long Island in 1996. Friends also recall Father Mychal's prayer that his final moments would be spent in service to someone in need: His death at the World Trade Center, where he rushed the moment he heard the news, seems further proof of a truly inspirational life. Throughout, Holstein makes no bones about the fact that Father Mychal was hardly perfect he was a recovering alcoholic who found salvation in Alcoholics Anonymous nor does he attempt to disguise Father Mychal's homosexuality, something he never made public but which no doubt grounded his gutsy work with gay Catholics and people with AIDS.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: NR
- Review: Glenn Holstein's portrait of Father Mychal Judge, the New York City Fire Department chaplain who died during the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, is aptly titled. This impressively mounted, feature-length eulogy for the courageous Fran… (more)