In Bob We Trust unapologetically positions Father Bob Maguire as an icon of goodness, an old man with an infectious good humour, idiosyncratic charm and, above all, a deep respect and love for humanity. Defined by his generosity in the community and his outspokenness in the media, this documentary chronicles Bob’s battle to try and keep his role as parish priest after Archbishop Denis Hart demanded his retirement upon Bob’s 75th birthday.
It seems very appropriate for the film to paint Bob as an icon; after all, the Church will surely do the same in a century’s time much as they did with Mary MacKillop, papering over the challenges he faced within the institution to focus on the good he did in the community. In Bob We Trust emphasises the toll of the Church’s conservatism, demonstrating the real damage inflicted by removing Bob from the community.
It’s not all doom and gloom, of course; while not as insightful as you might hope (understandably – key Church figures declined to be interviewed), it’s warm and entertaining. This is thanks to clever stylistic excursions – like a Seventh Seal parody interspersed throughout the film – but mostly thanks to the cheeky charisma of Bob himself.