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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

And So It Goes

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Scene from movie 'And So It Goes'
The indignities of romance in one's 60s entwine with a mortifyingly weak and implausible script for two aging actors in "And So It Goes" (Clarius).

Michael Douglas, who plays grumpy widower and real estate agent Oren, and Diane Keaton as lissome widow and aspiring singer Leah, are engaging as they go through their paces. It's just that director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Mark Andrus have nothing new to say about either the vicissitudes of aging or the need to connect with family members.

It's a mostly moral story told in the style of a "family" film, although so weakly, its intended audience isn't even clear. Adults won't mind it. Anyone under the age of 20 probably won't be interested.

In leafy Fairfield, Connecticut, Oren, whose wife died 10 years ago, has been trying to sell his mansion for $8.6 million, but has found no takers, in part because of his occasional racial insensitivity. He's staying in a small apartment building he owns, along with Leah, whose late-life singing career stalls because she bursts into tears whenever she mentions her dead husband and the love they shared.

Into this comes Oren's son, Kyle (Austin Lysy), with a granddaughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins), that Oren didn't even know he had. Kyle fathered the girl, who's about to turn 10, back in his drug-addiction days. He's about to serve a jail term -- not for narcotics, but on a trumped-up charge related to his boss being investigated for insider trading.

Oren makes a single attempt to return Sarah to her junkie mother, an episode that seems tacked on. More troubling, Oren makes no attempt to get the woman into any kind of rehab program. Once her addiction is evident, he simply takes Sarah away.

Formula takes over after this. Sarah teaches her caustic granddad the importance of compassion. This, in turn, helps him come up with a way to set Leah's singing on a more lucrative path, and Oren and Leah both stumble into the perils of a physical relationship.

Ambling, philosophical stories about adult romances in pretty settings can be enjoyable. But here, the philosophy is reduced to wisecracks and the ambling obstructs reality. Fairfield, however, has never looked lovelier.

The film contains implied premarital sexual activity, a scene of childbirth, a few uses of profanity and fleeting crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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