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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Knight and Day

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in "Knight and Day."
Adults in search of escapist summer fare will likely be pleased with the good-natured action-and-romance combo "Knight and Day" (Fox). But intermittent stylized violence and a smattering of crude and profane dialogue preclude endorsement for adolescents or younger viewers.

As the female half of the blockbuster couple at the heart of this genre-splicing story, Cameron Diaz plays everyday woman June Havens. Though June is slightly ditzy—in the time-honored Goldie Hawn manner—the opening scene, set in an airport through which she drags a suitcase laden with auto parts, establishes June's knowledge of mechanics in general and classic cars in particular.

Those skills will come in handy after her seemingly random run-in with highly skilled CIA agent Roy Miller (Tom Cruise), an initially flirtatious encounter that leads June into a bizarre, barely plausible adventure.

Roy, it develops, is on the run from his former colleagues—led by Director George (Viola Davis) and Agent Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard)—after absconding with a new, potentially revolutionary energy source (i.e., a self-sustaining battery) and stashing its young, geeky inventor Simon Feck (Paul Dano) in a remote hideaway.

As Roy battles his erstwhile allies, as well as evil Spanish arms dealer Antonio Quintana (Jordi Molla), who eventually gets thrown into the mix, the bewildered June is left dodging bullets and trying to figure out whether Roy—for whom she rapidly, inevitably falls—is rogue or hero. (Though, really, Cruise's sly smile, undimmed since his "Risky Business" days, should leave her in as little doubt as it does the audience.)

Director and co-writer (with Patrick O'Neill) James Mangold's breezy diversion, meanwhile, ping-pongs from one romantic setting to the next—Salzburg today, Seville tomorrow—showcasing car and motorcycle chases and taking a steady, but largely bloodless, toll on the extras along the way.

A back story concerning Roy's roots deals touchingly with themes of family love and patriotic sacrifice, and the adroitly portrayed, chemistry-rich central relationship progresses, for the most part, innocently enough.

The closest the script comes to anything edgy between the two leads is a recurring joke about an incident in which Roy drugs June to keep her from panicking, then changes her (off-screen) out of her clothes and into a bikini—Roy's Caribbean hideout is one of the aforementioned idyllic backdrops—while she sleeps.

June's appropriately annoyed reaction to this invasion of her privacy only succeeds in drawing another of those trademark grins.

The film contains frequent, though mostly nongraphic, action violence, at least one use of profanity and of the F-word, some crude language and a few instances of sexual humor. The Catholic News Service 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.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Jeanne Jugan: 
		<p>Born in northern France during the French Revolution—a time when congregations of women and men religious were being suppressed by the national government, Jeanne would eventually be highly praised in the French academy for her community's compassionate care of elderly poor people.</p>
		<p>When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight children (four died young) alone. At the age of 15 or 16, Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that not only cared for its own members, but also served poor, elderly people nearby. Ten years later, Jeanne became a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais. Soon thereafter she joined a third order group founded by St. John Eudes (August 19).</p>
		<p>After six years she became a servant and friend of a woman she met through the third order. They prayed, visited the poor and taught catechism to children. After her friend's death, Jeanne and two other women continued a similar life in the city of Saint-Sevran. In 1839, they brought in their first permanent guest. They began an association, received more members and more guests. Mother Marie of the Cross, as Jeanne was now known, founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849, all staffed by members of her association—the Little Sisters of the Poor. By 1853 the association numbered 500 and had houses as far away as England.</p>
		<p>Abbé Le Pailleur, a chaplain, had prevented Jeanne's reelection as superior in 1843; nine year later, he had her assigned to duties within the congregation, but would not allow her to be recognized as its founder. He was removed from office by the Holy See in 1890. </p>
		<p>By the time Pope Leo XIII gave her final approval to the community's constitutions in 1879, there were 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor. Jeanne died later that same year, on August 30. Her cause was introduced in Rome in 1970, and she was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2009. </p>
		<p> </p>
American Catholic Blog The people who know God well—the hermits, the prayerful people, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a manipulative mother, but a lover who is more than we dared hope for.

 
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