October 13, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a C

The independent faith-based feature Thérese couldn’t be more different from The Passion of the Christ, yet the two films bear one remarkable similarity. Thérese unfolds with the sunlight-and-daffodils piety of a Sunday school slide show as it chronicles the passion of Thérese Martin (Lindsay Younce), the 19th-century French teenager who entered a Carmelite monastery with visions of sainthood dancing in her head. The film’s plodding, unvarnished style suggests late-period Robert Bresson — that is, if he were shooting a commercial for the decorative glories of scrubbed wood. Yet when its heroine succumbs to tuberculosis, Thérese comes morbidly alive. Once again, the ecstasy of agony squashes and trumps the drama of goodness.

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