“Liam” is the story of a Depression-era Liverpool family seen through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy. The movie opened in select theaters on September 21 and was previewed that day by Catholic League research analyst Louis Giovino.
We knew there was a Catholic element in the movie that bared watching. We noted, for example, the dreary tale of Liam’s experience preparing for First Communion. The way the school is portrayed is also noteworthy. It seems that about the only thing Liam learns is just how filthy children’s souls are. He learns this from his teachers, as well as from the parish priest. The priest, a quintessential bully, bombards the kids with horrific sermons on Hell, effectively bestowing them with fear and guilt.
All the familiar anti-Catholic stereotypes are there: the Catholic Church exists solely to torment young children, is sexually repressive, etc. Indeed, the film is so over the top that Giovino concluded it was unfair to say that it was a one-dimensional portrait of Catholicism. No, this is a cruel caricature that has been deliberately crafted.
Most revealing is the fact that the film is the work of a Who’s Who of Catholic Bashers. “Liam” is written by Jimmy McGovern; the distributor is Lions Gate; and the producer is the BBC. McGovern previously wrote the anti-Catholic movie, “Priest”; Lions Gate previously released the anti-Catholic film, “Dogma”; and the BBC has produced more anti-Catholic flicks than any other company (it was also responsible for “Priest”).
In a news release, William Donohue said, “I’m trying to think of an analogy that works but I can’t.” The Catholic League president admitted he couldn’t think of a single writer, distributor or producer—in Hollywood or London—that is the bigoted equivalent of McGovern, Lions Gate and the BBC. “That’s because all forms of bigotry are taboo among the cultural elite,” he remarked, “save one.”
Donohue predicted that “Liam” would draw well in “New York, Los Angeles and in neighborhoods populated by artists and college professors.”