The visually-stunning Letters to Father Jacob follows the lives of two very different people, whose paths cross for unknown reasons. Inspired by Klaus Härö’s Letters to Father Jacob, the movie with a contemplative rhythm – one to which, thanks to Hollywood, we are utterly accustomed to – unveils a simple and sincere tale of unexpected reconciliation.
Leila (Kaarina Hazard) is a convicted murderer who receives an early pardon from her life sentence. Seeing has lost contact with any and all relations, she is presented with only one option: go and work for Father Jacob (Heikki Nousiainen), a blind elderly priest who lives alone out in the countryside and tends an abandoned rural church.
Leila is a walking rock. While we know nothing of her story before her time in prison, whether it be her own pain or the pain that she caused others, for some reason she has built up an impenetrable fortress around her own interior. It is as if all fragility must be suppressed, all vulnerability hidden. Emotions, those revealing windows into our interior, have been strapped down and muffled.
One can only imagine her first impression of this blind, fragile and needy priest who dedicates his days to nothing else but receiving correspondence and writing responses. He is, in many ways, all that she has rejected.
Surely, there is a bit of Leila in each one of us. “Letters to Father Jacob” serves as an invitation to enter into a different world view, a different logic, one present and lived by Father Jacob.