Unconventional, visually breathtaking, solemn, and thought provoking are just a few of the words that describe director Terrence Malick’s minimalistic and yet grandiose film “The Tree of Life.” Rather than employing a traditional plot driven narrative, “The Tree of Life” follows a modest Texas family’s lives- the intimate and simple moments of three young boys, their overbearing but ultimately loving father (Brad Pitt in some of his best work), and their angelic and graceful mother (ethereal Jessica Chastain). Utilizing very little dialogue, we watch the children grow and learn about life, for that is what the film is truly about. It is about Life and all it encompasses- the origins of creation, our faith and spiritually and our connection to the earth. Ultimately, Malick presents the concept of Nature versus Grace and how we all must choose between the two. Or must we?
With the release of “Tangled,” its 50th animated feature, Walt Disney Pictures offers a beautifully dazzling, charming and heartfelt re-telling of a beloved fairy tale. The film is the story of Rapunzel, a young girl kidnapped as a baby by a greedy woman named Mother Gothel. Gothel, who desires the magically healing powers of the girl’s golden hair, hides Rapunzel away in an isolated tower in the forest. For 18 years, there Rapunzel remains, believing her “mother,” who tells her that the outside world is unsafe and full of cruel people. Yet Rapunzel’s feisty and inquisitive nature is inherent, and she yearns to see the world, especially to discover the wonder behind the hundreds of floating lights that adorn the night sky every year on her birthday.
Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year for Priests, which began June 19, 2009, to help Catholics rediscover the importance of the priesthood and provide priests with an opportunity for spiritual renewal. As the Year for Priests recently closed on June 19 of this year, it seems an appropriate time to examine the ways in which the priesthood has been represented in Hollywood and film over the years.