Saturday, 05 March, 2005

Martin Luther, the fiery father of the Protestant Reformation, was rarely temperate with words, so let me not fail him by being kind. Luther is a biopic of the worst sort—not just hagiography, but propaganda for the modern Lutheran Church, masquerading as history.

It captures neither the man nor his contradictions—neither the worst nor the best of him—and it's so corny and sentimental at times that it feels like two hours in Sunday school.


Would anyone who's seen it care to respond? Especially if you're Lutheran.

Posted in: The Arts

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David & Margaret of “At the Movies” fame have seen it. They gave it a good report and 2.5 & 3 stars respectively.

When it turns up here in deepest darkest north Queensland I hope to see it.

Posted by DavidC on 06 March, 2005 1:18 AM

Thanks for the link!

I just saw the movie last night. I thought it was great and I would recommend it. It really helped paint a picture of Luther’s time, and provided some good context for his writings. Read the “95 Theses” right after viewing and see if they dont make more sense.

One of the problems, that the review alludes to, is that Luther is such a rich and complex character. It is really is an impossible task to summarise 25 years of this mans life in 2 hours. I thought the filmmakers did well - the dramatisations of famous scenes like the Diet of Worms were excellent.

To call the film hagiography is unfair to my mind. Luther is presented as weak and timid at times, deranged and plagued by demonic voices at others. At other times he is in rank despair. Just before his marriage he confesses to Katie that he wakes up every morning in the darkest despair. So there is some attempt to present the flaws.

Some of the reviews criticisms are on the money. Luther was often very crude in his language - actually, downright disgusting is probably a better phrase. This side of him doesn’t come through at all in the film.

But the complaint that the film doesn’t show his anti-semitism is wrong-headed. The film ends in 1530, just after Augsburg. Luther didn’t become rabidly anti-semitic until about 10 years later, just before his death.

In summary, ignore the review, see the film.

Thanks Craig!


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