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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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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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