For Theirs is the Kingdom
ADVENTURE DRAMA RELIGIOUS MYSTERY
1980s & '90s
Money and fear haunt the church as much as secular culture. Renegade priest, Luke Hale, takes on the institution at the cost of his life. Lawyer, Ben Cabot, who recounts the story as a religious skeptic, eventually abandons his career and founds a shelter in the South of France.
Ambition, greed and jealousy greet a Boston lawyer when he happens into a billion-dollar project at the Montreal Anglican cathedral. Drawn into the alien world of the church, he discovers "Cathedral in the Night," a homeless community that gathers in the streets of the Old City.
Exiled, Hale dies in a snowstorm while searching for a lost homeless friend. Disillusioned, Cabot spurns the church, then leaves his own profession. Moving to his family’s shepherd cottage in the South of France, he befriends an aging American monk and founds a homeless shelter.
Montreal, Boston, Paris and the South of France
Based on a True Story
Plot - Premise
Plot - Other Elements
Philosophical Questions,Meaningful Message,Twist
Mature Audience Themes
Main Character Details
Name: Ben Cabot
Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Complex,Engaging,Educated,Gracious,Masculine,Outspoken,Romantic,Sarcastic,Confident,Funny
Additional Character Details
Name: Luke Hale
Key Traits: Adventurous,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Heroic,Leader,Masculine,Blunt,Visionary,Faithful,Honorable,Selfless,Skillful,Sarcastic,Unapologetic,Funny
Additional Character Details
Name: Dean Robert Beringer
Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Aggressive,Greedy,Insecure,Villainous,Narcisstic,Religious,Power Hungry,Manipulative,Unapologetic,Sophisticated,Educated
Additional Character Details
Name: Claire McWilliams
Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Confident,Empathetic,Faithful,Heartthrob,Gracious,Educated,Modest,Selfless,Romantic,Engaging,Heroic,Honorable,Visionary,Sophisticated
Ben Cabot, a prosperous Boston lawyer is deployed to Montreal, where he wanders into the Anglican cathedral in search of a social life. Encountering the Bishop, Cabot becomes privy to a billion-dollar battle to build a metro stop and shopping complex underneath the cathedral. The Bishop asks Cabot to review his legal rights to stop the plan he opposes; and Cabot is drawn into an Anglican world of jealousy, greed and betrayal. At the Bishop’s club, Cabot inquires about an outdoor community he has seen after dark, worshiping in the streets of Old Montreal. So Cabot meets Cathedral in the Night and its renegade priest, Luke Hale—former Vietnam medic, Amazonian shaman, and son of a British spy. Under a makeshift industrial light in the magnificent midst of the Old City, Cabot confronts the economics that have driven his successful life: “There’s no fucking miracle in taking,” Hale said. “The miracle’s in the giving.” Gently let down by an angelic nurse who has fallen in love with Hale, Cabot watches their romance cut short by an ambitious new head of the Cathedral. Haunted by Hale’s tragic end, Cabot quits the law and moves to his family’s shepherd cottage in the South of France. There he founds a homeless shelter at a crumbling monastery—which looks out across fields and vineyards to the Mediterranean Sea. Montreal, Boston, Paris and Céret make for visual extravagance, while spare, staccato dialogue, devoid of veiled explaining, succinctly packs a punch.
RELIGION, POLITICS, DRAMA
A lone Bishop does not want to turn his back on the homeless population of Montreal in favor of city funding like the rest of his clergy. Ben a lawyer, struggles with morality versus practicality in the face of church politics. The Bishop recruits Ben and Ben meets Hale, a renegade priest who gives instead of takes unlike most other clergy as well. Ben honors Hale's life lessons by starting a shelter in Europe.
Authors Writing Style: FAIR
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
Yes the profile does a great job reflecting the book. The development pitch does especially well expanding the summary to include important themes as to why the story is marketable.
Draw of Story
The direction of churches has been a hot button issue in the last couple of decades given that churches are one of the most profitable non-profits in the game. The motivation behind a churches decision to serve it community but also adhere to its own commandments about kindness towards strangers and enemies creates natural conflict.
The ideas are abstract with many heavy conversations in that it may create quicker pacing to show more concrete examples of the viewpoints of the characters rather than discussing them.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The hook is that the church of Montreal has opposing views of serving its members versus the greater good. It s tricky situation with amorally superior answer of helping the helpless but with a less practical application that discounts the greed of humanity. The clergy is not immune to human desire which despite clear godly edicts creates opposing interpretations amongst the followers.
This might have a smaller fanbase due to the religious aspect of the debate, despite its secular narration perspective and criticism organized religion. This could have a dedicated audience however of Christian viewers.
This is unlikely to have awards potential without a greater emotional range for the characters and escalating action despite very strong and worthy themes surrounding the main conflict.
Similar Films/TV Series
SPOTLIGHT, PREACHER'S WIFE, PHILOMENA, CALVARY, GODLESS (SERIES), HEAVENLY BODY
What’s New About the Story
At its core the debate the story presents about adhering to the principles the churches teach is a valid criticism of many clergy. Having more concrete action rather than just philosophical debates and making the character's positions more dynamic to create varied perspectives outside of privileged male guilt.
Cabot is inquisitive, fair-minded and generous. Hale is selfless, perhaps too hopeful and a visionary. The dean is practical but misguided and somewhat hypocritical.
Uniqueness of Story
Some of the subplots detract from the compelling church criticism presented as a theme within this premise. The characters have good viewpoints explaining why both disagree in a logical manner, but more varied viewpoints by other characters could help create less abstract privilege.
Film: Streaming, Indie, Studio
WORK IN PROGRESS
While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.
Tips for Improvement
Removing the love story and creating different viewpoints within the struggle with further development to characters on both sides of the argument could help create faster tension and engagement through personal transformation. The abstract concepts are interesting but providing more concrete examples of them in action could also help create faster pacing.