Review: Life Of Brian (1979)


Brian’s just about as dull as Jesus!

Written By: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones & Michael Palin
Directed By: Terry Jones

I am amazed at what riles up people sometimes. Life Of Brian is a film spewed forth from the devil in the eyes of a lot of religious people, but why is that? It never once slanders Jesus, it doesn’t libel any god. What it does is take cracks at the Roman Empire, cult of celebrity and organized religion. Oh wait, I get it, there must be a lot of religious people easily offended by cracks at the Roman Empire. What, I’m missing the point of their fervor? It’s not the Roman cracks, well then what is it? It’s the cracks at organized religion! No way, that can’t be why religious folk were so upset at Life Of Brian? I refuse to believe that people were upset at brutal honesty, at organized religion being revealed as the follow the leader blind puppetry that it is. Well, what do I know, that is why they were upset. Seems some people have problems with the truth.

For all those offended by what I just wrote, keep in mind, I’m the same guy who yells and screams at his TV constantly during Red Wings games, so I’m not exactly an ideal person when it comes to the objects of my rile. But, if you were offended then I honestly don’t care and I don’t believe you are the type of person who should be reading what I am writing. You can, but I express an opinion, I don’t follow, I am often wrong, I’m sometimes right, but I’m willing to be my own man and I’m okay with that. Life Of Brian delvers that message, it isn’t so much anti-organized religion, as it is pro-individualism. It’s funny talking about a Monty Python movie having a message, but Life Of Brian has a clear one. It is dead on in its characterizations of the one note thinking that dominates organized religion, but it’s even more dead on it its statement about the need for individual thought.

Life Of Brian is a film that any religious person should see, it isn’t that funny, although it is in parts, but it speaks wonderfully about the individual power we all have. A movie like Life Of Brian should shed away the shackles of organized religion and reaffirm why you have faith in a god in the first place. No doubt this won’t happen, and similar to Kevin Smith’s Dogma the actual faith found in the picture will be lost amidst the need for organized religious beliefs to be placed on a high pedestal. It’s sad, but I’ve learned to live with disappointment in how organized religion and its followers view the world.

Where does this leave the actual movie? Life Of Brian is far from great, because despite carrying a strong message it is first and foremost a comedy. Major chunks fall flat and just aren’t funny, but other chunks are quite funny. It’s a much more mixed bag than The Meaning Of Life was, but it’s a much more cohesive film. Still, I am of the mind that I like my comedies to be funny before all else, and in that regard Life Of Brian is a letdown. It’s a movie that is worth seeing for its message and for the parts that are funny. But, Life Of Brian is not the all-time classic it has been made out to be, whether you are a follower of Brian of Nazareth or Jesus of Nazareth. But, the idea of the Greek inheriting the Earth is horrific, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding played all day, every day horrific!




4 responses to “Review: Life Of Brian (1979)

  1. Nice. In a four paragraph review you start talking about the actual film in the 3rd paragraph. I see you had a bit to get off your chest…

    Anyways, I would tend to agree with your overall thoughts. Not a great film by any means, although it does indeed offer little nuggets of gold here and there. I love that part where they’re talking about the People’s Front of whatnot. That’s pretty funny. But like so many of these sketch comedy films (i.e. Scary Movie), they don’t have enough steam for a full running length.

    It’s the only Monty Python film I’ve seen and it didn’t encourage me to watch any others. Am I maybe missing out some gems?

  2. Bill Thompson

    I found The Meaning Of Life to be consistently funnier, but it’s not as cohesive, as it is a series of sketches without even the tiniest attempt to tie them together. Monty Python And The Holy Grail is a hit or miss comedy so I would suggest checking it out, I loved it, but it’s a pretty simple concept and if that concept doesn’t work for you then you won’t find it funny.

  3. I’ll take my chances on The Holy Grail then. Thanks.

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