The Agony And The Ecstasy
Pope Julius ll is eager to leave behind works by which he will be remembered. To this end he cajoles Michelangelo into painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When not on the battlefield uniting Italy, the Pope nags Michelangelo to speed up his painful work on the frescoes.
There are a few elements to mention regarding “The Agony And The Ecstasy” as it relates to Dove. There is nudity revealed in the film in the realm of art. A marble statue shows a woman’s breasts, and the painting itself on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel displays nudity, including the nakedness of Adam and Eve. In the film Michelangelo tells leaders of the church that God himself made man nude and one should not be ashamed of what God did. The nudity is only within the realm of the art, and therefore passes Dove’s approval. There is a man’s bloody face seen at the beginning as he has been wounded in war but it is brief, and not of a graphic nature as is seen in today’s films. There is a scene in which some church officials search for Michelangelo and they look in the wrong place and find a prostitute and the viewer sees her john in hiding, but again there is no nudity other than the man’s upper body. A woman who is married kisses Michelangelo but he does not respond and lets her know he is not interested.
The story itself is interesting as it reveals the many challenges Michelangelo faced in completing his famous painting and this from a man who did not consider himself a painter but rather a sculptor. Charlton Heston plays a strong Michelangelo with a temper, and Rex Harrison is terrific as the pope. The film will please art and history buffs but young children may find it to be slow.