Opening in theatres in October 2004, Thérèse marks the
release of Hollywoods first non-profit, donation-funded movie. It presents the brief,
yet influential, life of Thérèse of Lisieux, a Catholic saint who resonates with
people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds. Director Leonardo Defilippis, who decided to release
Thérèse after the success of Mel Gibsons The Passion of Christ,
hopes that the popularity of St. Thérèse, a woman who always gives hope to
people, will fuel the success of the film.
Defilippis is also hopeful that Thérèse will reach and inspire young audiences
who are searching for depth and spirituality generally non-existent in Hollywood productions.
Strong in its weakness
The screenplay for Thérèse was inspired by a piece written by
Defilippiss wife, Patti, and Lindsay Younce, a recent Catholic convert, was awarded the
films lead after initially auditioning for the role of Celine, Thérèses
sister. Preparing for her part, Younce (pictured above as Thérèse) read biographical works as well as Thérèses
Story of a Soul and Last Conversations.
In addition, the young actress stayed with the
Carmelites in their Eugene, Oregon monastery during filming. The Carmelites, the backbone
of the film according to Defilippis, donated props to aid the films authenticity. With
the films creation reliant upon donations and small monetary contributions, Defilippis
admits that Thérèse is weak compared to most movie industry projects
but asserts, that weakness is also our strength, because thats how Thérèse
For more information on the making of Thérèse or on how you can support the distribution of the film, visit the official Web site (theresemovie.com) and read our St. Anthony Messenger article, “Thérèse:
Sacred Art on the Silver Screen.”
Movie Reviews Menu