Heaven Help Us
Heaven Help Us is not simply one of the countless ďbuddy moviesĒ that pervaded the silver screen throughout the 80s; it is a hugely underrated and finely crafted film that has both the broad comedy and teen pathos that defined the era.
Set in an austere Catholic school in 1965, Heaven Help Us follows the stories of a group of school friends suffering under the heavy hands of love, the future, their parents and the teaching Brothers of St. Basilís School.
Starring is Andrew McCarthy as Michael Dunn, a quiet soul who only wants to dance with the soda shop girl, while his grandparents pressure him to become Pope. Mary Stuart Masterson is Danni, a hard-nosed soda jerk who cares for her depressed father by day and caters to St. Basilís students by night.
Rounding out the cast are Kevin Dillon and Malcolm Danare as Michaelís fellow students and hellraisers and Donald Sutherland as the Principal of St Basilís.
Finally, in a hysterically funny bit role, the ever manic Wallace Shawn as Brother Abruzzi; a monk with the recipe for eternal damnation: LUST!!!
The story follows Michael and his friends as they try to escape the suffocating morality of St. Basilís, avoid the violent attentions of Brother Constance, plan for their futures, and have some fun. The film has the fine ensemble cast chemistry of "Diner", and a lot of the outrageously ridiculous situational comedy of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". However, the movie is not near as broad as many 80's comedies, and they are some somber moments, mostly delegated to Danni and her psychologically ill father.
With a terrific, time-appropriate soundtrack and excellent period filming, this is not kitsch or camp. It can be taken seriously as a relatively accurate depiction of Catholic school life in the 1960's and is also gut-splittingly funny.
I love this film and while it has been very difficult to find for home viewing, now that it's available on DVD, get a copy and watch it. It's two hours out of your life that won't have been wasted...
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