Molokai tells the true story of Father Damien, a 19th century priest who, after an outbreak of leprosy on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, travels to the island to administer last rites to the dying lepers living in an isolated colony.

Damien is eager and willing to help the suffering lepers, but he soon realizes the task before him will be more daunting than he imagined. The lepers need much more care, both physically and spiritually, than what Damien expected. Nevertheless, he sets about doing what he can, such as restoring an old chapel and reaching out to authorities, seeking more provisions and funds for the colony.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Damien starts to notice that he has developed symptoms of leprosy himself.

Sadly, the story of Saint Damien (he was canonized in 2009) does not conclude with a triumphant “happily ever after”. The lepers are not miraculously healed, nor is the colony suddenly overwhelmed with needed support. It is a physical and spiritual challenge for Damien to the very end. But through his unrelenting dedication to the otherwise forgotten lepers just waiting to die, Damien perhaps shows us something more meaningful and profound than any Hollywood happy ending would be capable of conjuring.

(Although rated PG, the film does show some of the devastating effects of leprosy which younger viewers may find distressing.)

Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes
Rated PG
IMDb Parents Guide