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Betsy Kerekes reviews an exquisite new movie, in theaters November 2 only. 

On our long drive from San Diego to Los Angeles to watch a film about cloistered monks and nuns in Spain, my friend Heather and I discussed all manner of things holy to mundane. 

“Where are the saints living among us today?” I mused. “We lost Mother Teresa and JP II. Carlo Acutis was an upstart out of nowhere and was awesome. Who do we have now?” 

Heather could only shrug. Then, several minutes into Free, when our senses were overwhelmed with the peace and beauty of the contemplative lives of these holy men and women, Heather leaned toward me. “I think this answers your question of where our living saints are.” 




I’m not sure if "enraptured" is too strong a word to use here. I was blown away by the initial shot of a monk walking toward the ocean at sunrise, the clouds tinged in golden hues of radiant light. The cinematography and music in this movie are stunning, the settings of peaceful solitude far from the madding crowd, beautiful.   

Then there were the stories from the monks and nuns themselves, spanning several of the 750 cloisters in Spain. One man was an art student in London before becoming a successful painter in a NYC gallery, then on to Paris, before moving to Spain where he found the monastery. 

One nun’s children were in shock when she announced that their widowed red-fingernailed, high-heel wearing mother was very happily joining a convent. 

A young nun spoke of wanting to get married and having children, asking God to point her in the direction of her future husband, but instead fell in love with God Himself. "I couldn’t love anyone more," she said. "And no one would love me more."

And the former Satanist—a devil-summoning, death-metal blasting, serial-killer idolizing man of evil. “But my mother was praying for me,” he said, teary-eyed. “Is there anything more powerful than a mother’s prayers for her son?” No, my friend. No, there is not. 




This movie is a two-hour spiritual retreat. Walking out of that small oasis of a theater on Sunset Boulevard and seeing “Girls! Girls! Girls!” flashing on a sign across the street was a slap on the face to the reality in which we live.  

But, for many, there’s a better, more fulfilling life.  

“Poco y poco,” the monks and nuns frequently said. “Little by little” God calls and fills the void, despite the friends and parties several spoke of formerly enjoying. “Conversion is inexplicable,” one monk said. “It’s when you let go of fear … it’s a moment of total freedom.” 

The wisdom from these holy souls … I’m telling you. 

In a world afraid of silence, constantly needing the distraction of our phones and the TV on even if we’re not watching it, a life devoted to God promises quiet, peaceful joy and holy friendships.  




Parents, take your children (old enough to read subtitles: call it a Spanish lesson if they’re studying español). Boyfriends and girlfriends, see this movie, though you run the risk of looking at each other afterward and saying, “I love you, but that’s the life for me.” 

If all the above doesn’t inspire you to find tickets to a showing near you, I leave you with these three words: nuns playing basketball! 

And in case that still doesn’t do it for you, then simply: See. This. Movie. 

For real. It’s worth it. I’ll be taking my children November 2nd. You should too. Watch the trailer below, though, in my opinoin, it doesn’t fully do the movie justice. Then find tickets at FathomEvents.com


Copyright 2023 Betsy Kerekes
Images: Copyright 2023 Bosco Films, all rights reserved, used with permission.