Archive for July 6th, 2011

 Copyright © 2011 by James Clark



    It’s the 1950s, and a Texas housewife tells her son that the nuns she has never forgotten insisted to her as a child that people must choose one of two ways—either “the way of nature” or “the way of grace.” As it happens, she and her husband cleave tenaciously to those antithetical keynotes—she being at the far edge of somewhat preciously gentle grace, and he (like Tall in The Thin Red Line) being an extreme practitioner of abrasive and joyless advantage. This civil war leaves their eldest son, “Jack,” unlike disenchanted, Private Jack Bell, in that other movie, completely at a loss. Well, so what?

    Getting this far, most viewers enlist with either North or South, and then try to make headway through a presentation that vaguely registers as innovative, but, when spread out for comprehension, doesn’t say anything they didn’t already know. The Northerners tend to end up expressing contempt; the Southerners, anxious hopefulness. Neither party, it seems, has any appetite for the prospect that the nuns got it wrong. (more…)

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