The Apostate (I) (2015)

Unrated   |    |  Comedy


The Apostate (2015) Poster

An existential comedy about a Spanish man trying to apostatize from the Catholic Church.


5.8/10
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  • The Apostate (2015)
  • Álvaro Ogalla in The Apostate (2015)
  • The Apostate (2015)
  • Álvaro Ogalla in The Apostate (2015)
  • Álvaro Ogalla in The Apostate (2015)

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2 February 2019 | silvio-mitsubishi
7
| Enjoyable Potboiler
Although the main theme of the film is religious apostasy, it is nowhere near as deep and solemn as that might imply. Free-thinking philosophy student Gonzalo has decided he wants to leave the Catholic Church for various reasons, some religious, some more profane. He starts the process in the correct way but becomes caught in a Catch-22 / The Trial / Schrödinger's cat world, with no clear way out. Worse, his decision brings him into conflict with his mother, who has carefully maintained the fiction that he is academically successful, while his intelligence will not allow him to give the exam answers that will confer his qualification after years of knockbacks. Alongside this run parallel stories of romance and an uplifting relationship with a boy he tutors.

I notice that the lead actor was responsible for the original idea, and wonder how much of his real history he has plundered. This could help explain the slightly unconvincing way that women seem irresistibly drawn to him. There are a few other flaws and undeveloped ideas, such as a scene that stops abruptly before he wakes with a start in the back of a car, leaving a vague thought that perhaps what went before was a dream. His tutee's mother is not happy that he lends the child a dictionary, saying he should make do with the one supplied by his school, but is later delighted when Gonzalo gives him a new dictionary of his own. We can overlook these things and take comfort that our protagonist was not made into a 'slacker' cliché.

At eighty minutes, the film does not outstay its welcome and seldom drags despite its leisurely pace. There is little to dislike, unless you find the religious aspect challenging. Gonzalo's mother is the only unsympathetic character, but we can understand her motives even if we disagree.

Overall, an easy film to enjoy and a low-key ending that nonetheless invites a quiet cheer under our breath and lets us walk away happy.

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