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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Black Snake Moan

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Source: Catholic News Service

Extremely lurid, but ultimately redemptive, melodrama set in rural Tennessee about an aging blues singer (Samuel L. Jackson) who nurses a badly beaten nymphomaniac (Christina Ricci) back to health, and gets her to overcome her drug and sexual addictions, conquering his own inner demons in the process. Writer-director Craig Brewer pulls out the stops with an intentionally florid style, while the impressive performances of the leads -- as well as those of John Cothran as a benevolent preacher, S. Epatha Merkerson as an empathetic friend and Justin Timberlake as an emotionally damaged soldier who loves the young woman -- overcome the more outrageous plot elements, The high quotient of sex, violence and foul language -- which walks the finest of lines between morally objectionable and dramatically valid -- will seriously limit the film's appeal to audiences, Catholic and otherwise. Pervasive rough and crude language and profanity, racial epithets, strong sexuality including a couple of graphic encounters without nudity, premarital situations, upper female nudity elsewhere, violence and drug use. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.



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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Pope Francis said, “The Church gives us the life of faith in Baptism: that is the moment in which she gives birth to us as children of God, the moment she gives us the life of God, she engenders us as a mother would.”

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