By the Grace of God (film)

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By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byFrançois Ozon
Produced by
Written byFrançois Ozon
Music by
  • Evgueni Galperine
  • Sacha Galperine
CinematographyManuel Dacosse
Edited byLaure Gardette
  • Mandarin Films
  • Scope Pictures
Distributed byMars Distribution
Release date
  • February 2019 (2019-02) (Berlin)
  • 20 February 2019 (2019-02-20) (France)
  • 27 February 2019 (2019-02-27) (Belgium)
Running time
137 minutes
  • France
  • Belgium
Budget$6.8 million[1]
Box office$7.8 million[2][3]

By the Grace of God (French: Grâce à Dieu) is a 2019 French-Belgian drama film directed by François Ozon.[4] The film stars Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet and Swann Arlaud as three survivors of a Catholic priest's abuse who, as adults, set out to expose the sexual abuse hidden by the Catholic Church.

It premiered at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival and won the Jury Grand Prix.[5][6] The film was released in France on 20 February 2019 and in Belgium a week later, and has received critical acclaim.


Alexandre, François and Emmanuel were victimized as children by the venerable and predatory Father Bernard Preynat. As adults, when they discover that their former tormentor has been reassigned and has apparently been shielded all along by the Catholic Church, the men, still scarred and facing near-insurmountable challenges to their faith, begin a movement to bring the guilty to account.



Principal photography on the film began on February 12, 2018 and lasted till April 13, 2018 in Paris, France and Belgium.[7]


By the Grace of God received largely positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 96% score based on 93 critics, with an average rating of 7.62/10.[8] It has a 76 out of 100 score on Metacritic based on 4 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]


The priest portrayed in the film, Bernard Preynat, attempted without success to block its release in France.[10] On 4 July 2019, an ecclesiastical tribunal of the Archdiocese of Lyon announced it had determined that Preynat was "guilty of criminal acts of a sexual character on minors younger than 16" and applied its maximum penalty by defrocking him.[11] Preynat had one month to appeal the decision to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[12]


On March 7, 2019, Archbishop of Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was convicted of covering up the abuse committed by Preynat and given a six-month suspended prison sentence.[13][14] Despite the conviction being overturned, the scandal still resulted in Pope Francis accepting Barbarin's resignation as Archbishop of Lyon on March 6, 2020.[15] On 16 March 2020, Preynat was convicted of sexually assaulting boy scouts and given a five-year prison sentence.[16][17]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "By the Grace of God (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  3. ^ "By the Grace of God (2019)". The Numbers. IMDb. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Alexandre".
  5. ^ "Berlin Film Festival 2019: Nadav Lapid's 'Synonyms' Wins Golden Bear". Variety. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ "French Court Rejects Bid to Block Release of Catholic Abuse Film 'By the Grace of God'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. ^ "François Ozon tourne Alexandre".
  8. ^ "By the Grace of God (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  9. ^ "By the Grace of God Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  10. ^ "French clerical abuse film gets go-ahead after legal challenge". BBC News. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  11. ^ Charlton, Angela (5 July 2019). "French priest stripped of clergy status for abusing Scouts". Crux. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  12. ^ Viet, Cyprien (4 July 2019). "Fr Preynat found guilty of sex abuse and defrocked". Vatican News. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  13. ^ "France: Card. Barbarin sentenced to six months suspended sentence – Vatican News". 7 March 2019.
  14. ^ Mongaillar, Vincent (19 March 2019). "Retrait de Mgr Barbarin: son remplaçant, Yves Baumgarten, a été percepteur des impôts" [Withdrawal of Bishop Barbarin: his successor, Yves Baumgarten, was a tax collector]. Le Parisien (in French). Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  15. ^ Winfield, Nicole (6 March 2020). "Pope lets French cardinal embroiled in abuse cover-up resign". Crux. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  16. ^
  17. ^

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