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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Bears

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Sky, Scout and Amber star in a scene from the movie "Bears."
Mother knows best, even in the animal kingdom, as demonstrated in "Bears" (Disneynature), a wildlife documentary about a year in the life of an Alaskan brown bear and her two cubs.

This fifth offering from the Disneynature series, directed by veterans Alastair Fothergill ("Chimpanzee") and Keith Scholey ("African Cats"), is an innocently voyeuristic treat for just about every age, a marvel of moments great and small captured in stunning cinematography.

Narrated with brio by John C. Reilly, "Bears" starts deep in the den at winter's end. A mother bear, nicknamed Sky, is nursing her two newborn cubs, Scout and Amber. The long hibernation period is over, and the moment has arrived to go out into the wilderness to search for food.

Time is of the essence, we're told, as half of all newborn bear cubs do not survive their first year—victims of starvation and predators.

So we follow the trio as they make their way down the mountain to the sea, hoping to feast on migrating salmon. Sky must fatten herself up so she can survive the next winter's sleep and provide milk for her cubs.

There are obstacles along the way, including other, not-so-friendly bears who guard their feeding grounds, and even nastier wolves who like to eat bear cubs.

Mom also must contend with the emerging personalities of her offspring. Amber is shy and stays close to home, while Scout is mischievous and rambunctious, and often in need of rescue.

Such sentimental anthropomorphizing (a Disney hallmark) can be intrusive, making one wonder just how elaborately edited this "true-life" adventure is.

Moreover, the cutesy and cuddly quotient in "Bears" is off the charts. Fortunately, moments of ferocious fighting remind us that these are wild animals, not pets. In fact, the savage interaction may be a bit too intense at times for the youngest of viewers.

The film contains scenes of animal combat. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G—general audiences. All ages admitted.

*****
Joseph McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Madeleine Sophie Barat: The legacy of Madeleine Sophie Barat can be found in the more than 100 schools operated by her Society of the Sacred Heart, institutions known for the quality of the education made available to the young. 
<p>Sophie herself received an extensive education, thanks to her brother, Louis, 11 years older and her godfather at Baptism. Himself a seminarian, he decided that his younger sister would likewise learn Latin, Greek, history, physics and mathematics—always without interruption and with a minimum of companionship. By age 15, she had received a thorough exposure to the Bible, the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and theology. Despite the oppressive regime Louis imposed, young Sophie thrived and developed a genuine love of learning. </p><p>Meanwhile, this was the time of the French Revolution and of the suppression of Christian schools. The education of the young, particularly young girls, was in a troubled state. At the same time, Sophie, who had concluded that she was called to the religious life, was persuaded to begin her life as a nun and as a teacher. She founded the Society of the Sacred Heart, which would focus on schools for the poor as well as boarding schools for young women of means; today, co-ed Sacred Heart schools can be found as well as schools exclusively for boys. </p><p>In 1826, her Society of the Sacred Heart received formal papal approval. By then she had served as superior at a number of convents. In 1865, she was stricken with paralysis; she died that year on the feast of the Ascension. </p><p>Madeleine Sophie Barat was canonized in 1925.</p> American Catholic Blog When you go to Jesus, you’re not going to a God who only knows heaven; instead, you’re placing your hurting heart into pierced hands that understand both the pain of suffering and the glory of redemption.

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