Italy and France (among others) make a lot of basic cinema fodder that we never get in our cinemas. Stuff without Depardieu or Binoche, stuff not directed by Sorrentino or Garrone. Mainstream, disposable stuff.
God Willing is such fluff, but it made a bucketload of money in Italy, which is why we’re getting it – and that’s okay, because it’s pretty good. It’s charming and funny and easy to digest, while being almost devoid of nutrition or directorial flourish.
Tommaso is a surgeon in Rome. When his young adult son announces to the family he is going to become a priest, Tommaso goes “undercover” – posing as a believer – to try and discredit the leader of his son’s church group, a “hip priest.” Misunderstandings, complications, gentle humor and respect for others follow.
There is a lot of room for a serious look at the state of religion in modern Italy with this set-up, and co-writer / director Edoardo Falcone completely avoids it. Instead, we get archetypes and stereotypes (wait’ll you see how dumb Tommaso’s “dumb daughter” is – she’s really super dumb) but the script has excellent one-liners and the lead performances, from Marco Giallini and Alessandro Gassman, are winning. It’s a completely stress-free 90 minutes with at least eight laughs out loud. That’s pretty good, and just good enough.