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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Leap Year

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Matthew Goode and Amy Adams star in a scene from the movie "Leap Year."
With its action set mostly in Ireland, the likable romantic comedy "Leap Year" (Universal/Spyglass) features background details of life on the Emerald Isle more akin to 1952's "The Quiet Man" than to the post-Celtic Tiger contemporary reality. But the film's central, opposites-attract relationship is old-fashioned in the best sense, with physical restraint on the part of its main characters allowing room for a dexterously acted, if somewhat formulaic, portrayal of their deepening emotional engagement.

Hating each other at first sight (and thus bound to fall for each other eventually) are controlling Boston real estate consultant Anna (Amy Adams)—who specializes in temporarily decorating empty apartments to make them more appealing to prospective buyers—and laidback Dingle Peninsula innkeeper Declan (Matthew Goode).

Anna's plans to surprise her commitment-shy live-in boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) by following him to Dublin, where he's attending a cardiologists' convention—and where she hopes to take advantage of a Sadie-Hawkins-like national tradition allowing women to propose on Leap Day—have been derailed by the weather, stranding her in Declan's picturesque but out-of-the-way corner of the world with Feb. 29 looming.

So, despite their initial head-butting, Anna hires Declan, who doubles as the local taxi driver, to get her to the capital in his "classic" (read barely operative) auto.

Amid the adventures that follow, Anna learns to relax, and the outwardly unflappable, but repressed Declan gradually opens up about the emotional scars inflicted by a previous relationship. Perhaps, ironically, because of her existing commitment—such as it is—to the insufferably smug Jeremy, Anna and Declan resist giving way to their growing attraction, even during a stay at a roadside bed-and-breakfast where they must pretend to be married to gain admittance to the one room—and one bed—on offer.

Though they share the bed, and though he jokes about the transparency of the shower curtain that substitutes for a bathroom door, the pair go no further than the passionate kiss demanded of them by their hosts, over an after-dinner drink, as a token of their newlywed ardor.

As scripted by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, director Anand Tucker's Hibernian idyll—which includes two sympathetic if incidental priest characters—thus allows the couple's discovery of each others' endearing qualities to unfold at a natural pace and in circumstances that make it, despite the elements described below, probably acceptable for older teens.

The film contains implied cohabitation, some mildly sexual humor, at least two uses of profanity, one of the S-word and a few crass terms. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

******
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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