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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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Martha: Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother’s death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death. 
<p>No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner. </p><p>Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an “unrecollected activist.” The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: “...[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); “One does not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4b); “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6a). </p><p>Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world’” (John 11:25-27).</p> American Catholic Blog One of the difficulties we may have when our lives become unmanageable is that we find dealing with other people to be difficult and we may even struggle to maintain a relationship with God. Caring people especially can find themselves carrying unnecessary crosses as they become lost in the maze of trying to meet everyone’s crazy expectations—including their own!

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