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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Carrie

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore star in a scene from the movie "Carrie."
Since high school bullying can now bring felony charges, the telekinetic revenge of "Carrie" (Screen Gems) seems almost quaint.

Someone decided that a reboot of the 1976 horror film based on Stephen King's 1974 novel was a good idea, though. So by gosh, by golly and by rote, director Kimberly Peirce has taken a crack at it, and here we are.

In the wake of the original film headlining Sissy Spacek, there followed a disastrous 1988 Broadway musical, a 1999 big-screen sequel, "The Rage: Carrie 2," and a 2002 TV movie on NBC. Troubled, naive Carrie White, humiliatingly splattered at the senior prom by a bucket of blood, now ranks in the remake league somewhere between "Anna Karenina" and "Dracula."

Peirce's version, scripted by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie and Julianne Moore as her deranged fundamentalist Christian mother, Margaret.

Let's be clear what we mean by deranged: Margaret likes to lock her daughter into a closet to repent whenever she feels the girl has sinned, she refers to breasts as "dirty pillows" and she nearly killed Carrie at birth with a pair of scissors.

Peirce's religious imagery includes reproducing one of the earlier film's famous scenes in which Carrie directs a drawer full of cutlery at her mother, who's then stuck onto a door like the arrow-riven St. Sebastian. Pierce also makes a nod to the novel's use of Tennessee Ernie Ford's gospel classic, "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning."

The plot, set in the present day, remains the same. Carrie does not understand menstruation; her ignorance leads to a mortifying scene in the communal high school showers. A cruel classmate, Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday), takes advantage of current technology to capture this on her cellphone and upload it to YouTube.

Kindly gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer) bans Chris from the prom as punishment, and Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) breaks through Carrie's shyness to ask her to the dance. Carrie's so happy, she makes her own gown. Chris is so angry, she plots a very public revenge.

In the meantime, though, Carrie discovers her ability to move objects around by directing them with her hands or by just glaring at them. She begins with water jugs and a restroom mirror, moves up to Stickley chairs and her mother, and by the time she's queen of the prom, is ready to unleash mayhem.

Blood, and lots of it, is the leitmotif here. There's so much gore, in fact, that it quickly loses all shock value. What's left is a pretty tame gross-out attempt.

The film contains considerable gory violence, implied premarital sexual activity, disturbing imagery, mature themes, a few uses of profanity and fleeting crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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