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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Larry Crowne

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

I wanted to like “Larry Crowne”, a new film directed by the brilliant Oscar-winner Tom Hanks and co-written with Nia Vardalos, who gave us the wonderful film “My Big Fat Greet Wedding” in 2002. Yes, I was looking forward to seeing “Larry Crowne” but the best thing about it was seeing it after “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. It gave me a chance to unwind. Unfortunately, I almost fell asleep.
 
Larry (Tom Hanks) is a middle-aged retail worker who gets along with everyone. He’s been employee of the month nine times. But he is fired because he does not have a college diploma and cannot advance in the company. He was in the Navy for twenty years but this does not seem to count. Recently divorced with no children, he regroups – and buys a motor scooter from his next-door neighbor with a never-ending yard sale, Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer), to save on gas.
 
An advisor suggests that Larry take a speech class and another on basic economics. The speech teacher, Mercedes (Julia Roberts), is unhappy but her class of ten students responds to her reluctant teaching, much to her surprise. When Larry offers her a ride after a disastrous dinner with her porn-addicted husband,  Mercedes responds to his genuine and gentle kindness.
 
The class is made up of interesting people but they really never get a chance to develop, and the storyline for one girl who drops out to open a business, is never really concluded. There was one student, though, that caught my eye; she looked just like Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, who has had a recurring role as a deliciously devious and brilliant attorney on CBS “The Good Wife”.  The credits listed her as Grace Gummer, another of Meryl Streep’s four children. Grace has a small role here, but she may be an actress to watch.
 
The economics class starts off well; the professor, Dr. Matsutani (George Takei)  thinks he’s a comedian but he speaks so slowly that the film’s energy drops every time we end up in his class.
 
“Larry Crowne” is a good-hearted film that wants to encourage people in economically depressed times, to re-train, go back to school, and for some audiences, this will resonate.  It makes a great point that pornography destroys relationships (without showing any). But the mega-watt star power of Hanks and Roberts overwhelms the simplicity of the script that never quite finds its footing.


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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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