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Lincoln View Comments
by Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP


Lincoln
Just weeks after President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is reelected to a second term in 1864, he pushes for the passage of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution that would outlaw slavery and involuntary servitude. It had already passed the Senate, but it stalled in the House of Representatives.

At the same time, word comes that the Confederacy is ready for peace discussions between the North and the South as the Civil War rages. The Senate figures that if peace is secured, there would be no need for the amendment to pass, and things could go back to the way they were before Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Lincoln knows that the proclamation, as an executive order, could be challenged after the war.

Lincoln, directed by Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg, is an intimate study of the man, his family, his cabinet, and political machinations to achieve the end of slavery and bring the Civil War to a close.

There are no shabby performances in Lincoln. Day-Lewis’s Oscar-worthy turn is extraordinary. After watching the scene where he tends the fire and then kneels down so his son, Tad (Gulliver McGrath), can climb on his back for a ride to bed, I knew I was seeing something great and unforgettable.

Sally Field excels as the emotionally uneven wife, Mary Todd. Tommy Lee Jones, as Representative Thaddeus Stevens, who has to compromise ideology for terminology that turns the tide in the Senate, deserves an Oscar, too.

Day-Lewis, with the help of makeup wizardry and a compelling script by Tony Kushner, is Abraham Lincoln.

A-3, PG-13 ■ Brief violence, graphic imagery, mature themes.
The Twilight Saga:Breaking Dawn—Part 2
Newly converted vampire Bella (Kristen Stewart), her husband, Edward (Robert Pattinson), and daughter, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), are at home in Forks, Washington. They are surrounded by other vampires and by Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a wolf, and his pack for safety. The child is in mortal danger because the Volturi—the most powerful group of vampires in the world— believes she was born a vampire and is a threat to them because she will be uncontrollable.

But, in reality, Renesmee is half-vampire and half-human because she was born before Edward turned Bella into a vampire. The Volturi and the Cullen clan meet so that Aro (Michael Sheen) can discover the truth and desist. They engage in a grand battle that will determine the future for all.

It’s a challenge to review this film—one that could have easily ended with Part 1 (2011). A case could be made for hints of Mormon theology in the film, such as the immortality of marriage and family.

The filmmakers, through special effects, succeed in turning the conclusion of author Stephenie Meyer’s vampire novels into a film with startling imagery. They more than make sure fans will be satisfied with the ending, which is a little different from the book. There just wasn’t a lot to the film but huge box-office receipts.

A-3, PG-13 ■ Intense vampire violence.

Silver Linings Playbook
Former high school teacher Pat (Bradley Cooper) returns to his parents’ home in Philadelphia after spending time in a mental institution for severely beating his wife’s lover. He is diagnosed as bipolar and wants to save his marriage and get his job back, but refuses to take his medication.

Pat decides, instead, to train and meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow, while running in the neighborhood. They are attracted to each other, but both have serious emotional issues. Pat realizes that Tiffany can get a letter to his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), despite the restraining order she has against him. In return for the favor, Pat agrees to become Tiffany’s ballroom dancing partner so she can compete in an upcoming contest.

Pat’s therapist tells him to come up with a strategy so he will respond appropriately instead of fighting when stressful situations come up. Add to the mix Pat’s father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), an obsessivecompulsive who gets into fights over his beloved Philadelphia Eagles football team, and the stakes for a happy ending rise considerably.

Cooper and Lawrence have great chemistry, and Jacki Weaver, who plays Pat’s mother, is the calm, sane presence in this chaotic world wrought by good people who struggle to be the best they can be.

The title, Silver Linings Playbook, reflects Pat’s strategy to look for silver linings in life as well as in the family’s favorite football team. The film is one of the warmest, quirkiest love stories in years—a perfect blend of humor, pathos, heart, and hope for flawed and broken humanity. This film may rival Lincoln for Oscar attention.

Not yet rated, R ■ Language, brawling, and mature themes.

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.

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Anthony Zaccaria: At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to the religious apostolate. He renounced his rights to any future inheritance, worked as a catechist and was ordained a priest at the age of 26. Called to Milan in a few years, he laid the foundations of three religious congregations, one for men and one for women, plus an association of married couples. Their aim was the reform of the decadent society of their day, beginning with the clergy, religious and lay people. 
<p>Greatly inspired by St. Paul (his congregation is named the Barnabites, after the companion of that saint), Anthony preached with great vigor in church and street, conducted popular missions and was not ashamed of doing public penance. </p><p>He encouraged such innovations as the collaboration of the laity in the apostolate, frequent Communion, the Forty Hours devotion and the ringing of church bells at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. </p><p>His holiness moved many to reform their lives but, as with all saints, it also moved many to oppose him. Twice his community had to undergo official religious investigation, and twice it was exonerated. </p><p>While on a mission of peace, he became seriously ill and was brought home for a visit to his mother. He died at Cremona at the age of 36.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, help me make my life more about you and less about me. May others see you in me—your image and likeness. Teach me ways to increase my time with you, my service to others, and my love for my family, for strangers, and for the poor. You are the light in the darkness. With each new day, may we be light to one another.

The Spirit of Saint Francis

 
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