Review: The Brand New Testament

Have you ever wondered if there was a film that answered the key question of Joan Osborne’s 1995 hit single, “What if God was one of us”? Are you completely immune to the offence caused by downright blasphemy and/or sacrilege? Do you want to see a darker, more satirical, French version of a Monty Python film? If you’re going to be offended by God having a face, living in Brussels, or generally hating on Jesus, this film may be a step too far.

If you’re fine with this, go and watch Le Tout Nouveau Testament, a French/Belgian film in which God’s daughter, Ea, is encouraged by her older brother JC to throw a spanner in God’s works. Directed by Jaco Van Dormael, the performances of the central characters are, for a comedy, incredibly well done. God, played by Benoit Poelvoorde, is a moody old man, whose actions lead to out constant daily suffering. Ever wondered why the queue you were standing in moves slower than the other ones? God, that’s why. Poelvoorde performs this incredibly well, with the character having underlying issues with control regarding his family. His wife’s complete submission to him, and his abusive actions toward his daughter only further the character’s flaws.

“Her relationships with her family, brother, and the disciples that she brings together are unbelievable, and she manages to bring happiness to these people, often in hilarious ways – whether through death defying shooting stunts, jumping from rooftops and bridges, or sleeping with a gorilla”

Ea, played by Pili Groyne, is a fascinating character, who informs the entirety of Brussels when they will die and throwing the city into chaos. I’ll be the first one to throw shade at child actors and actresses, but Groyne’s portrayal of the rebellious child is almost unbelievable. Her relationships with her family, brother, and the disciples that she brings together are unbelievable, and she manages to bring happiness to these people, often in hilarious ways – whether through death defying shooting stunts, jumping from rooftops and bridges, or sleeping with a gorilla.

Despite this, it’s a particularly heartwarming film. It’s dark, hilarious, and touching, and if you’re okay with God being a douche, I’d fully endorse you going to watch this.

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