Michael Lonsdale did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying brother Luc in Of Gods and Men.
Veteran french actor Michael Lonsdale portrays one of the monks of the monastery brother Luc who is also the doctor among the group. The film itself takes a reserved approach to its depiction of such a harrowing story as it quietly examines them attempting to continue their lives and duties in their faith even while the barbarians appear to be at the gate. Lonsdale's Luc is perhaps the most modest of the men who are simply trying to mind their faith and help the locals in their small ways. Lonsdale early on offers the presence of a man who has been living this life for a long time. Lonsdale's whole being is one of earnest empathy to those around him, and there is just such an abundance of natural warmth in his work. Lonsdale is particularly remarkable in the way he brings this with such an ease that reflects those years of this state. This is a pleasant state that Lonsdale reveals in brother Luc, as he offers the assurance of a life of fulfilling his duties as to his belief. There is particularly effective scene by Lonsdale early on where he describes the feelings of love to one of the local teenagers and Lonsdale in his gentle delivery and understanding eyes creates such sense of the caring nature of Luc.
Lonsdale's performance as the film continues is one of consistency and grace even while the world seems to crumble around the monastery. Now this is actually what is so notable about Lonsdale is what he does within potential limits of the role which could have been vague with the wrong actor in the part. Lonsdale while having that grace doesn't make brother Luc someone beyond who is which is a loving person. Lonsdale portrays his moments of dealing with his asthma, and the hardship of the danger of attacks as just that a hardship. Lonsdale's reaction depict the way he takes these things into himself but also takes them in stride. Lonsdale importantly always makes it feel wholly genuine with the man Luc is which is in this calm of his very being. Throughout the film though he is perhaps the least troubled by the impending threat on all of them which may result in their deaths. In every discussion Luc is quick to show his support for staying, and unlike the other monks is never truly conflicted by the choice. Lonsdale again doesn't use this as though Luc is detached, but rather aware of his own state of being.
Lonsdale realizes this elegance in his thoughts which is that as an old man with his health issues he knows he doesn't have long on this earth in any circumstances. Londsdale is tremendous in the way he creates this sense of this understanding that creates perhaps somberness of it, but never a sadness. There is rather where there is that calm in his being, that calm of a man who has lived his life the way he believed to be right. As the film continues then Lonsdale in this portrayal of this acceptance of fate is the most comforting presence in the film. Unlike the other men Lonsdale shows this sort of confidence of a man who can see his end, but rather than being fearful of it readies himself for it with a quiet embrace. As much as this is a place of lasting warmth in the film, particularly in the final moments the monks spend together, the impact of Lonsdale goes even further than expected as the story reaches its end. Lonsdale's work becomes incredibly poignant in never creating a unapproachable martyr, but rather creating this portrait of honest goodness. The final shots of the film of him bearing a storm well slowly moving towards his end are haunting showing the real power of Lonsdale's unassuming yet potent work.