Monk Dawson


Seventies-set Monk Dawson tells how Eddie Dawson (Michie), an idealistic young Catholic priest expelled from a Benedictine monastery in Yorkshire, is posted by his superiors to a wealthy London parish. There, his questioning articles upset the religious authorities, while his priestly vows are put to the test by teenage temptress Theresa (Steavenson-Payne).

This is a watchable, but fundamentally shallow romance, adapted by 23-year-old Tom Waller from Pier Paul Read's novel. It looks more like a TV mini-series than a movie intended for cinema release. Far too much incident is crammed into James Magrane's improbable screenplay (which unfolds through flashbacks during the space of 40 years) at the expense of both character and theme development. Michie's central performance also lacks the passion and intensity which might have given this more of an emotional charge.

Film Details

  • 18
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: July 31st 1998

User Reviews

    • jim77

      Aug 15th 2011, 23:31


      Disagree rather with this review, it has to be said (sorry!). I thought it rather powerful and moving. I think the depiction of the fallen priest, as he becomes involved in affairs and marriage, is fine as it is using, at different points, understatement to make its points about what the priest is feeling; and reflects the way the priest becomes more of an 'ordinary' sort of person as he gets involved with affiars, marriage etc, after losing his faith. The intensity we then see from the priest when that ordinary life goes completely wrong, acts nicely to convey just how wrong it has gone and his feelings about it. There is a certain lack of sophistication to how some of the scenes flow into one another to 'tell the story' - it's almost like we occasionally see the story play out and then one of the characters will give the 'telling comment' about what we have seen, which seems a little obvious - and perhaps the cinematography is somehow a bit monochromatic in places (but they are dealing with some not exactly colourful north UK landscapes). But I found it quite powerful and moving and, so it seems to date, only tend to like the films (very largely!) that turn out to get the best reviews, so i think this film has been pretty hard done by. It also contrasts nicely with the ultra-light fare that films so often offer up these days; and maybe the reviewer didn't appreciate that. The book won awards and this is not a bad stab at filming it.

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