Saint of 9/11

"Very Good"

Saint of 9/11 Review


Of all the images of September 11, 2001 that are seared into our memories, none is more moving than the photograph of Fire Department Chaplain Father Mychal Judge, dead in a chair, being carried out of the rubble by a group of first responders. Although the Franciscan priest was well known in New York, it was only after the publication of that photo that the rest of the world started to learn about his remarkable life.

Saint of 9/11, narrated with solemnity by Ian McKellen, tells Judge's complex story with both reverence and reserve. As a recovered alcoholic and a fairly open gay man, Judge was an unlikely addition to the Fire Department ranks, but he served them with the same enthusiasm that he served all New Yorkers, as an astonishing range of talking heads -- everyone from Hillary Clinton to a nearly incoherent homeless man in Penn Station -- testifies.

A Brooklyn native, Judge rose through the priestly ranks and ended up in a leafy suburb, but in the 1980s he felt the call to return to the city, where he believed his work was most needed. Gravitating toward the downtrodden and forgotten, he helped the homeless and AIDS victims (at a time when the word was rarely mentioned, and certainly not among the Catholic clergy). Many recall the times they saw him wandering the halls of AIDS wards consoling and embracing the patients.

As a gay man, Judge was in direct conflict with the teachings and rules of his own church, and yet he found a way to finesse the problem, never outing himself even though he was out. Although Fire Department officials knew of his sexuality, it seems the rank and file didn't, and the movie doesn't ask the question of how they would have reacted had they known. Also not discussed is whether he had a romantic life and whether his drinking may have been caused at least in part by shame and self-hatred. In any case, friends recall his work for gay Catholic organizations and his struggles to decide whether or not to march in St. Patrick's Day parades that excluded gays.

He did love parades. A showman to his core, Judge was at his best on big occasions, preferably arriving in his Fire Department car in a freshly pressed dress uniform. One of his finest moments caught on film (unfortunately, the filmmakers have few to work with) is a speech of consolation he delivers on a Long Island beach after the crash of TWA Flight 800 in the summer of 1996. He's a wonderful orator, witty when he wants to be, profound when he needs to be.

Other clips show Judge on a peace mission to Northern Ireland, and there's even one gut-wrenching bit of film that captures him at the World Trade Center just minutes before his death with a look of terrible anxiety on his face. This moment, remembered eloquently by former New York Fire Commissioner Max Von Essen, is the movie's most haunting.

Dead at 68, Judge lived a life well worth remembering. Although Saint of 9/11 doesn't tackle all the tough questions, it puts a very human face on the tragedy of September 11 and is one more painful reminder of what New York lost that day.



Saint of 9/11

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 27th April 2006

Budget: 400

Distributed by: IFC

Production compaines: Red Envelope Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Glenn Holsten

Producer: Malcolm Lazin, Brendan Fay, Equality Forum

Starring: as Narrator, Larry Boes as Himself, Everald Brathwaite as Himself, Thomas Paul Carey as Himself, Brian Carroll as Himself, as Himself, Hillary Rodham Clinton as Herself, Brendan Fay as Himself, Brendan Fay as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.