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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Marie Antoinette

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Source: Catholic News Service

Visually sumptuous but dramatically inert biography of France's most celebrated queen (Kirsten Dunst), her arranged marriage to the future King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), the lengthy period it took them to consummate their marriage and produce an heir, and her heedless spending and pleasure-seeking, which would infuriate the masses and help lead to the downfall of the monarchy. Director Sofia Coppola has impressively recreated the 18th-century period (albeit with some contemporary flourishes), and for the most part adheres to the historical facts, but rather disappointingly ends with the royal family's arrest and only hints at the queen's maturing transformation. The performances are sound, though the flat American accents of the leads are a detriment, as is the uninspired dialogue. Much speculation about the royal conjugal dilemma, brief partial nudity, an adulterous sexual encounter and innuendo restrict viewing to adults and older adolescents. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting 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.



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Hilary of Arles: It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, that was true for today’s saint. 
<p>Born in France in the early fifth century, Hilary came from an aristocratic family. In the course of his education he encountered his relative, Honoratus, who encouraged the young man to join him in the monastic life. Hilary did so. He continued to follow in the footsteps of Honoratus as bishop. Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles. </p><p>The new, youthful bishop undertook the role with confidence. He did manual labor to earn money for the poor. He sold sacred vessels to ransom captives. He became a magnificent orator. He traveled everywhere on foot, always wearing simple clothing. </p><p>That was the bright side. Hilary encountered difficulty in his relationships with other bishops over whom he had some jurisdiction. He unilaterally deposed one bishop. He selected another bishop to replace one who was very ill–but, to complicate matters, did not die! Pope St. Leo the Great kept Hilary a bishop but stripped him of some of his powers. </p><p>Hilary died at 49. He was a man of talent and piety who, in due time, had learned how to be a bishop.</p> American Catholic Blog True freedom lies in the ability to align one’s actions freely with the truth, so as to achieve authentic human happiness both now and in the life to come. Jesus promised, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32).

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