Two best friends love the same woman — this is a story as old as time. However, a new award winning, faith-based film explores this delicate situation by throwing in hot button topics like divorce, annulment, and Catholicism. In “The Tribunal,” Joe needs an annulment from his first marriage to even have a chance with his Catholic girlfriend Emily. However, his best friend Tony still loves Emily even though they broke up.
The movie’s website explains: “As each fights for who they love, the question of “What does God want?” begins to loom. Tony has been trying to come back to God because he wants Emily; his heart tells him he has to be the best man he can be for her. Joe doesn’t run as spiritually deep as Tony, but he also loves Emily and wants to do the right thing.”
Rarely does a movie tackle such modern and complicated topics.
Writer Michael C. Mergler explains why he made the film:
In today’s world, the single largest reason why people are alienated from their Catholic faith is their marital situation. With contemporary society’s sexual and relationship mores, readily available birth control and abortion, easy divorce and litigiousness, it’s no wonder that marriage as a permanent commitment has almost ceased to exist. But our hearts are instilled by God with the understanding that we can have only one spouse, so people try to rationalize their divorces and remarriages by rejecting the teachings of Jesus and His Church.
In this ocean of expediency, only the Catholic Church, the pillar and bulwark of the Christian faith, stands as an island of truth about the indissolubility of marriage. Ironically, this makes its determination that a marriage is null—that it never existed in the eyes of God—the only way to be truly free to marry another in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Pope Francis’ emphasis on making the Tribunal process quicker and at no cost to the Petitioner is a recognition of the need for this healing process on a massive scale.The Tribunal stands as both a poignant drama about three souls trying to do the right thing, and as a beacon call to everyone alienated from their Catholic faith through a broken marriage to come home, and be healed through the Tribunal process. Very few films today plumb the depths of this pain and ask the viewer to search his or her soul for what really matters. The Tribunal is driven by this search for the truth, the truth that sets us free.
A passionate debate currently rages between some cardinals and Pope Francis on this very topic, which makes this film incredibly relevant.
View the trailer here:
The DVD of this Dove-winning movie releases in September. Find out more here.
Image Credit: Movie Still