Léon Morin, Prêtre (Leon Morin, Priest) (The Forgiven Sinner)
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Léon Morin, Prêtre (Leon Morin, Priest) (The Forgiven Sinner)
Jean-Paul Belmondo portrays Leon Morin, an altruistic priest who believes that any sin can be expunged by a good dose of faith. Emmanuelle Riva plays a wayward woman who long ago decided that the easiest way was the best. Belmondo makes it his mission to steer Riva onto the right path. Given the censorial climate of 1961, it isn't surprising that the picture was shorn of 22 minutes for its American release. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A fascinating, unexpected movie that fans of French film in general, and Melville in particular, will not want to miss"
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"The result is a movie that moves with the diamond-cut precision and carefully constricting tension of Melville's trademark gangland sagas, the precious booty here being nothing less than the human soul."
‑ Scott Foundas, Village Voice
"The film does suffer from several long, dry patches as it amounts to a whole lot of philosophical and spiritual tête-à-tête."
‑ Austin Trunick, Under the Radar
"A peculiar combination of intellectual and instinctive, but it works beautifully."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"A monotonous production."
‑ Phil Hall, EDGE Boston
"Melville's eye for exacting detail here is expected. What is remarkable is the depth of feeling he exacts from the juxtaposition of these ordinary moments with their extraordinary context."
‑ Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"Tale [from Beatrix Beck's 1952 novel] of a young agnostic woman's conversion to Catholicism and her physical love for a priest during the Nazi occupation of France is handled with tact and talent."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"It's slow, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and full of rich characters and interesting discussion with a strangely sexual subtext."
‑ Eric Melin, Scene-Stealers.com
"It's quite the chamber drama, a war movie set in intimate spaces and played out in theological debates and guarded discussions"
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
"This extraordinary drama doesn't just play games with sexual disorientation and philosophical argument; it's also implicitly about life turned upside down."
‑ Armond White, New York Press
"It's a giddy bit of blasphemy to see Jean-Paul Belmondo dressed in priest's garb."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"Miraculous cinema, even for heretics."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"a thoughtful, moving evocation of spiritual life"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Religion to Melville is purified cinematic expression and gesture"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"A poetic, spiritual film exploring with elegance and simplicity the great human dilemmas in the context of one of 20th Century's France's greatest challenges -- the Occupation."
‑ , Film4