Lilies of the Field Reviews
The movie had great ideals: people of different races and nationalities working together to aid the community. However, the writer and director are hardly subtle in the way they go about their soapboxing.
The story hasn't aged well either, as the age and nationality divide aspect was much more relevant in the 1960s.
Furthermore, it just comes across as unrealistic and contrived: eg labourer works for a group of nuns for a day, expecting to get paid by the end of it, doesn't, but, instead of leaving, works for them for a few more days, and is surprised when he, once again, gets screwed at paying time. Then sticks around for a few more months and is once again surprised when they don't pay him or even buy materials.
This said, despite being overly and overtly idealistic and syrupy sweet, and fairly predictable in its motives and plot, the movie does have a feel-good quality to it which makes it worth watching.
Good performance by Sidney Poitier in the lead role. Worth noting that this is the only performance he won an Oscar for. Considering his other work, eg In the Heat of The Night, A Patch of Blue, The Defiant Ones, this is very surprising. The Defiant Ones was his only other nomination, in fact.
Is it possible for a film to be both evangelical and light-hearted? They seem like a contradictory adjectives, but somehow the delightful exuberance of Sidney Poitier make the film work. He has an easy charm that contrasts nicely with the nuns' severity. The film's themes, include faith and stewardship, aren't heavy-handed or explored in any depth, but they're there, and the film is as catchy as the gospel tune that Poitier repeatedly sings.
Overall, this isn't a canonical, except for the fact that Poitier became the first African-American to win Best Actor, but it's a fine time and entertaining couple of hours.