Omeleto

Bless Me Father

By Paul M. Horan | Drama
A priest has a moral dilemma when a man confesses a secret that affects his life.

Fr. William, a priest in a local Irish Catholic church, is hearing confession one Sunday when Michael, an old parishioner, enters his booth, with some news: Michael has lung cancer and is facing a terminal diagnosis. Michael also has other revelations: one involving William himself, the role he played in the breakdown of Michael’s marriage — and the devastating consequences of that breakdown.

Now William must try to convince Michael to keep the truth under wraps — and grapple with his own moral dilemma as he is torn between his duty to offer God’s forgiveness and his own emotions and reactions.

Writer-director Paul Horan’s powerful, intimate drama interrogates the role that religion, and its human intermediaries, plays in human lives, questioning just what gives them the moral authority to dispense wisdom when they themselves are fallible. It’s also about the balance between social roles and personal choices, and the unexpected yet momentous impact that we can have upon one another.

The narrative is essentially a two-hander where the main characters are confined to a confessional booth, and its fulcrum involves a powerful secret strong enough to question the self-conception of its main character, not to mention up-end his life if the secret should get out.

The performances and writing dictate the aesthetic approach of the film, which uses nimble editing and well-composed shots that capture both words and reactions. Viewers will be hard-pressed to notice the visual limitations of setting — and indeed, the close quarters emphasizes both the intimate conflict between the two, as well as their separateness from one another.

Though relatively small in scale, the film is able to achieve a masterful dynamism, thanks to excellently crafted writing, which is brought to life by terrific performances that grapples with both the sensitive emotional dilemmas of the characters and the weighty subjects of morality, ethics and self-scrutiny. The storytelling lays out beautifully calibrated and paced emotional beats that subtly form the groundwork for an eventual powerful detonation.

Actors Phelim Drew and Francis Magee play the priest and his supplicant respectively, both offering performances that achieve subtle yet rich character arcs over the film’s fifteen minutes. Michael’s secrets are laid bare, and their personal impact upon Fr. William form the backbone of a story that shakes him out of what can be seen as his moral complacency. He is forced to reckon and account for his own human mistakes and limitations, especially when its consequences are so potentially devastating.

“Bless Me Father” is well-crafted, engaging and compelling, and it’s also a prime example of the power of words as the basis of human drama. The dialogue is heightened here, but still with a ear towards social realism and psychological nuance. Words — both spoken and unspoken — have powerful consequences in the world of the film, and both William and Michael use their words to provoke, cajole, shame and wound one another. By the film’s end, it’s unclear who has won, perhaps — but we understand that much has been lost, with such a resonant, devastating impact that it renders viewers as speechless as the priest himself.





You Might Also Like:

November 1st

By Charlie Manton | Drama
A mother goes to witness the execution of her son's murderer.

The Landing

By Josh Tanner | Sci-Fi
A man uncovers the horrifying truth of what landed on his childhood farm.

Sometimes, I Think About Dying (Sundance)

By Stefanie Abel Horowitz | Drama
A depressed woman thinks about dying. But a co-worker asks her out.

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Sci-Fi
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A young father who is cut off from his son takes matters into his own hands.

Mordechai

By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-Orthodox Jew reunites with his twin brother for their father's funeral.

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
An Iranian woman's husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman uncovers the truth about the man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Cradle (The Oscars)

By Devon Manney | Animation
A veteran soldier battles phantom pains and memories of a pre-war life.

Don’t Be a Hero (Sundance)

By Pete Lee | Drama
A woman robs banks as a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost & Found (The Oscars)

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley & Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A farmer invests his savings in a piglet.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
2 strangers at a wedding reception make an unexpected connection.


Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening. That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.