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Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) stars as Martin Luther, the brilliant man of God whose defiant actions changed the world, in this epic, ravishingly beautiful (The New York Times)film that traces Luther's extraordinary and exhilarating quest for the people's liberation. Regional princes and the powerful Church wield a fast, firm and merciless grip on 16th-century Germany. But when Martin Luther issues a shocking challenge to their authority, the people declare him their new leaderand hero. Even when threatened with violent death, Luther refuses to back down, sparkinga bloody revolution that shakes the entire continent to its core.
Like The Passion of the Christ, Luther is the story of a spiritual leader, German monk Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes), in opposition to the religious orthodoxy of the time (in his case, the 1500s). His goal--to bring God to the people and to take money, fear, and shame out of the equation--made him a reformer to some, a heretic to others. Released around the same time as Mel Gibson's blockbuster, it failed to attract the same degree of attention--or controversy. Granted, it's a different film, but not radically so. Directed by Eric Till (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace), Luther isn't always easy to follow or as emotionally involving as it could be. That said, it's a fascinating story and Fiennes receives solid support from Alfred Molina (Frida), Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire), and the late Sir Peter Ustinov (Spartacus), in his final film role, as Frederick the Wise. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- Original theatrical trailer
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But what was most impressive is the struggle of Luther as he works out his own faith, challenges the established doctrines, translates Scripture, ultimately seeking to reform the Church and return it to a more Christlike institution. A must for anyone interested in Church history.
The Protestant Revolution was a major event in European history which split northern Europe from the Catholic Church. The revolution was based on his theory that people should be good Christians through their own faith, based on their understanding of the bible, instead of good works such as buying indulgences ( a forgiveness of sins for money) from the Catholic Church.
This is an excellent and entertaining film presenting the life of a man whose intelligence, common sense and passion changed the course of Christianity and the world.
This should be required viewing for students around 12 to 14 and anyone who professes to be a Christian. When I was a young Catholic in the 1950's, any books or films about Martin Luther were forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, this film was especially valuable and enjoyable to me.
I'm not a movie critic, but I think the acting was good, too.
I like to share it with my friends who are clueless about the Reformation.
For those of you who are not familiar with the history, a lot of corruption entered into the Catholic Church hierarchy by the 1500’s. Perhaps the most egregious was the Church’s doctrine that one’s sins would be forgiven if one gave enough money to the Church. Another was the Church’s fight to prevent people from reading the bible for themselves. Luther started off as a troubled man believing he had to earn God’s forgiveness. But then he read the bible and preached against these and other corrupt teachings.
His reformation led to wars of religion in Germany and other countries. It ended with governments granting religious freedom to people – something expanded upon and stated in the US Constitution’s First Amendment. That is why he is such a pivotal person in world history.
Yes, this is sort of a Cliff Note’s version of history. For example, Luther’s part in the peasant’s rebellion could have been larger to better understand his views. And like with all of us, he has flaws.
The performances are first rate, as is everything else in this film. I recommend it to people who like history and/or religious movies.