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Letters to Father Jacob


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Letters to Father Jacob + Mother of Mine + As It Is in Heaven
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kaarina Hazard, Heikki Nousiainen, Jukka Keinonen
  • Directors: Klaus Härö
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, NTSC, Dolby, Widescreen
  • Language: Finnish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: March 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004FUYSVI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,598 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Letters to Father Jacob is a warm-hearted and touching story of Leila, a life sentence prisoner who has just been pardoned. When she is released from prison, she is offered a job at a secluded parsonage; she moves there against her will. Leila is used to taking care only of herself, so trouble is to be expected when she starts working as the personal assistant for Jacob, the blind priest living in the parsonage. Every day the mail man brings letters from people asking for help from Father Jacob. Answering the letters is Jacob's life mission, while Leila thinks it's useless. Leila has already decided to leave the parsonage when the letters suddenly stop coming. Jacob's life is shaken to its foundation. Two completely different lives are intertwined unexpectedly, and the roles of the helper and the one being helped are turned upside down.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
A very moving story with beautiful cinematography to underline its quiet elegance.
E. Char
A momentary sense of hope sweeps over his face in finding she is still there, he's no doubt heard the taxi come and go.
Kimba
A crisis for the pastor reveals that none of us is above struggle in life and we all need the help of others.
K. Jeannette

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Jeannette on January 22, 2011
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Klaus Haro, the director of Mother of Mine, has done it again with Letters to Father Jacob, which I saw at last spring's Minneapolis-St.Paul International Film Festival. Finally coming out in a Region 1 DVD in 2011, I hope it will be released for viewing in theaters in the USA!

Gorgeously filmed, the moving story of pardoned convict Leila who takes a job helping the blind pastor, Father Jacob, in his work answering letters from people requesting his spiritual help is real and human, in the best sense. Leila is hardened and gruff in her manner toward the old, blind pastor who simply requests her help in writing his responses to the letters, and we see her attitudes toward the old man shift and change as she can never quite "get" him. She can't help but respond to his essential kindness, and even becomes protective of him, yet, not being a believer, she feels that the work he does is ridiculous. A crisis for the pastor reveals that none of us is above struggle in life and we all need the help of others.

The film is a kind of psychological jostling between these two individuals, and the unknown outcome keeps us riveted to the story. Finally, of course, much is revealed and the resolution is both beautiful and heart-breaking. One of the best movies I have ever seen. Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kimba on May 15, 2011
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Once again I have fallen in love . . . with a character from a 2009 Finnish film called "Letters to Father Jacob." Father Jacob has spent untold years living alone in a rectory in the pristine woodlands of outerlying Helsinki. He seems content, he seems patient, he seems dedicated to his mission of receiving letters requesting prayer and returning encouraging words from the Holy Scriptures which we learn later he has never read himself because he has always been blind. Still, he sees far more than most of us.

One day a woman in the nearby penitentiary is pardoned after believing for over a decade she would spend her life imprisoned. The prison official releasing her encourages her to fulfill a priest's request for an assistant to help him read his mail and pen his responses. With no ties to family or friends, having severed all contact during her incarceration, Leila has no where else to go so finds her way to Father Jacob's home.

Every day the mailman brings letters, and with deep concern Father Jacob prays and responds as this is his life's purpose. Leila is a woman of few words; her facial expressions speak loudly of her contempt that the old man is wasting his time. Then one day the letters stop coming.

While the story is somewhat predictable, it is far from cliche. And while things happen that are heartbreaking, the quiet, persistent power of faith--or rather, the power of love--will open anyone's heart who needs, as Father Jacob says, "to believe that there is someone watching over them."

It is not preachy. Not a sermon. Not even a morality tale. It is not soft. Tender is not the word, either. But it is poignant and beautifully crafted. It is a love letter that ends just like you expect it to.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. HupFons on March 9, 2011
Klaus Haro, a superb Finnish director, delivers another exquisite film. This movie will appeal to lovers of foreign films, independent films & cinematic art. The story is subdued but powerful. Only 74 minutes from start to finish, Haro delivers a strong drama about a pardoned criminal who is offered employment by an elderly priest in a remote Finnish village. Hazard, as the released prisoner, and Nousiainen, as the old priest, lend strong performances to this tale of hope, despair, and redemption. Without spoiling the story, it's safe to say that there is an obvious struggle between good and evil that is neither moralistic nor preachy. The story packs a subtle punch as the relationship between the 2 main characters develops. There are a couple of loose ends that might have been handled better by the director and screenwriter, such as the sudden, implausible cessation of correspondence, but they do not detract from the overall impact of the film, as will become apparent at the climax.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary McGreevey on July 29, 2012
In the 1980's I lived six months in Finland and fell in love with its deep silences, beautiful lakes and forests, quiet and intense people. I was content there as I have never been in the USA or elsewhere in Europe. There is undeniably something so deeply stirring in Finland that I cannot resist any new film or book from there.

If you rent this film unfamiliar with Finland, it seems like a very slow, rather depressing film about a pardoned murderer, a woman in her 40's who served 13 years of what she believed would be a life sentence. She is given a job to assist a blind priest who lives on a lake in an old typical Finnish wooden house. A simple job: read the correspondence that arrives daily, and write replies back to the troubled people who write to him.

She is not in the least delighted to be out of jail, she looks and acts extremely grumpy, speaks in a harsh and terse tone to the old blind priest, and seems tougher than nails, beyond redemption.

The story begins to build up with tension in a typical Finnish way, wherein the few characters in their silent and isolated area become involved with each other, overcome their fear of each other.

One could be forewarned that it takes the right mood to see this film, for it is certainly no comedy. It is a serious story of the message of forgiveness as taught in the Bible. The murderer has to forgive herself, and that is no easy task. The viewer thinks, that I would never do, never murder anyone. Yet as the denouement comes, one feels a swelling in one's own breast of pent-up guilt and fears, for haven't we all hurt people close to us, and are we not living to regret it, can't forgive ourselves?

I am not ashamed to say it brought tears to my eyes.
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