My Favorite Religious Character in Film

La Llorona is a Mexican folktale about a woman who drowned her two boys and searches for them after death, stealing away any children that might be suspect. In 2019, James Wan manifested this folktale in The Curse of La Llorona and unknowingly birthed my favorite religious character in all of film.

Rafael Olvera

As a man of faith, Rafael is consulted by the Garcia familiar to face down La Llorona. But for once in film, Rafael didn’t enter the battlefield counting on his power alone. He knew the only way to defeat the evil was by the power of God.

The Kitchen Line

When the priest of the Catholic Church refers Anna Garcia to Rafael, he mentions that Rafael abandoned the church. Anna assumed that that meant Rafael abandoned his faith altogether. But in the kitchen scene, Anna asked if Rafael had left behind the church. Rafael dropped this line, “The church, yes. God, never.”

The Pool Scene

During the battle to fortify the house, the Garcia daughter gets dragged out by La Llorona and taken to the pool to be drowned. As any parent would, Anna dives in after her daughter. La Llorona attacks Anna for interfering and now, Anna is fighting for her life.

When Rafael sees this, he pours salt into the pool, brings out his rosary, and prays to God. At “amen,” the attack ends and Anna resurfaces with her daughter. Using salt and divine intervention through prayer, God had purified the water in the pool. As Rafael says, “Your pool is now filled with holy water. La Llorona had no choice but to leave.”

The Face Off

After forcing La Llorona out of the Garcia house, Rafael stands at the door watching the entity charge toward him to re-enter. He stares her down, ice running across his eyes, all of his confidence in God. And when La Llorona reaches the warded doorway, she stops cold just like Rafael knew she would. He turns and closes the door right in her face.

THAT is what fearless faith looks like! THAT is what believers who know God’s power look like! THAT is what I’ve been craving to see in film all my life! That is the moment in this movie that sold his character to me. I still get chills every time I watch it. Last time, I paused the movie so I could squeal in celebration at just how awesome it was for him to face the evil in full-faith that God would triumph.

I believe Rafael’s character has a conflicting personality when it comes to his faith. The moments I’ve recounted here in this blog are moments of true faith in God Almighty, a part that’s hard for Hollywood to write because it often feels fake to unbelievers. The other half of Rafael’s character was invested in mysticism, which I feel was used mostly to paint a pretty story that ties all the details together. In the end, the Cross defeated La Llorona which is true to the Christian faith.

What did you think of The Curse of La Llorona?

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