Is More a bore?
By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 09, 2008
Is it heresy to whisper that the sainted Thomas More is a bit of a bore?
No, it's not heresy. A saint could, in theory, be a dull subject for theatrical portrayal. But it's a curious criticism, at least, to say (as Times review Ben Brantley says) that the playwright "neglects to include several essential ingredients for a compelling dramatic hero. Like conflict, doubt, vacillation and change."
Is it obligatory for a dramatic hero to manifest self-doubt? Somebody should tell Sophocles.
In the screenplay, Bolt takes pains to show the interior struggle of St. Thomas More: a good man's desire to save his position, his family, and ultimately his life; competing against the demands of intellect, honor, and conscience; in the end, with the prospect of martyrdom staring him in the face, recognizing: "Finally, it's a matter of love."
Did the lead actor fail to display that dramatic struggle? Apparently not; Brantley goes to great length to praise the work of Frank Langella, who played the role of St. Thomas.
So what is the critic's complaint, then? There may be a clue in his off-hand reference to the "monolithic goodness" of the saint's character. An evil character might be easier to take--and indeed Brantley expresses keen interest in the role of the conniving, amoral Cromwell. But virtue is out of fashion.
An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:
Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!
Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($2,250 to go):
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!