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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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Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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