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Chasing Mavericks View Comments
by Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP


Chasing Mavericks
Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) is transfixed by the ocean’s waves near Santa Clara, California. As a boy, he studies the tides and can predict when the best swells will occur for surfing. When he is 15, he steals a ride with his neighbor, Frosty (Gerard Butler), and finds out about the mythical mavericks—gigantic waves that pound the northern California shore near his home. He asks the taciturn Frosty to teach him to surf the big waves.

Frosty eventually agrees but lays out a training course that will test both of them. Frosty’s character-building program has four pillars for a solid human foundation: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. In between the grueling training, Frosty assigns essays for Jay to write.

Confronting inner fears is tough for Jay, as he is dealing with a missing father and a mother addicted to alcohol. The majesty of the waves crashing along rocky cliffs parallels the challenges both men face in their lives.

Chasing Mavericks is a master/disciple, father/son story where both characters learn transforming lessons from the other. The camera action is visceral and breathtaking. Both Butler and Weston do their own surfing, which gives the film an authentic feel.

The real Jay Moriarity, who died in 2001 after a diving accident, was a “soul surfer.” Directors Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson, and writer Kario Salem, respect the life and achievements of this brave young man whose life continues to inspire surfers and athletes everywhere with the motto, “Live Like Jay,” which is displayed in his hometown.
A-2, PG  Peril, domestic violence, bullying.

Life of Pi
It’s 1977, and Pi (Irrfan Kahn), who lives in Winnipeg, Canada, tells an unbelievable story. He has studied theology and zoology and, as he tells it, the tale is enough to make someone believe in God.

When Pi was young, he lived in Pondicherry, India, a former French colony. Pi’s real name is Piscine Molitor, after a Parisian swimming pool beloved by an honorary uncle. Pi is a Hindu, but, at 14, he is baptized a Catholic and soon after he becomes a Muslim. He practices all three faiths on his journey toward understanding the universe and his place in it.

His father (Adil Hussain) buys a zoo and then, for political reasons, decides to move the animals and his family to Canada by cargo ship. A couple of days outside Manila, a ferocious storm sinks the ship. Pi escapes on a lifeboat and is soon joined by a female orangutan, a zebra, a Bengal tiger, and a hyena. Pi and the tiger, named Richard Parker, struggle to survive on their own in a tenuous coexistence.

After 277 days at sea, they wash up on the west coast of Mexico. And this is where things get more complicated. No one believes Pi’s story. Should he tell them the facts? What will they believe?

Some may think Life of Pi, directed by Academy Award-winner Ang Lee, is a parable showing that all religions are the same, but I think it is more of an allegory about faith and one man’s epic journey to discover what matters in life. His story is a pilgrim’s progress toward human and spiritual maturity.

Life of Pi is a film that encourages long talks with family and friends to discover what it really means.
Not yet rated, PG  Peril.

A Royal Affair
In 1766, the little sister of Britain’s King George III, Princess Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander), is betrothed to her cousin, King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) of Denmark. The king, a mentally ill philanderer, has to be coaxed into fathering a child.

The king’s ministers are concerned about the monarch’s instability, so they hire a German doctor, Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), to be at his side. The king comes to trust the doctor. But when they return to court after a tour of Europe, the queen and Struensee are attracted to each other.

Denmark is simmering in the late 18th century. The alliance between the ruling class and the Evangelical Church is facing off against the professional classes and the poor, who are influenced by the secular values of the Enlightenment. Struensee and the queen influence the king to make laws that favor the poor. The king fires his ministers, and he and Struensee rule Denmark briefly.

A Royal Affair is an excellent historical drama about a place and time about which we know little. It provides a rare glimpse into how the Enlightenment influenced countries. The film also shows how difficult it is to introduce authentic social change based on human dignity.
Not yet rated, R Mature themes, language, and violence.

CATHOLIC CLASSIFICATIONS
A-1 General patronage
A-2 Adults and adolescents
A-3 Adults
L Limited adult audience
O Morally offensive

The USCCB's Office for Film and Broadcasting gives these ratings. See www.usccb.org/movies/index.htm.

Find reviews by Sister Rose and others at www.CatholicMovieReviews.org.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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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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