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Reluctant Saint : Francis of Assisi [film…

Reluctant Saint : Francis of Assisi [film 2003]

by Pamela Mason Wagner (Director)

Other authors: Robert Sean Leonard (Voice of Francis), Liev Schreiber (Narrator), Donald  Spoto (Original Book)

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"Don’t make a saint of me," Francis of Assisi told a friend - even as his charisma and holiness were dazzling his contemporaries and generating a legend that has lasted almost a millennium. "Reluctant Saint" shows us a Saint Francis who transcends the image familiar to even the least religious among us: wealthy playboy, soldier, businessman, preacher, defender of the poor, mystic and - later - an inspiration to lovers of nature and the earth.
Filmed on location in Umbria, Italy where St. Francis lived and worked, "Reluctant Saint" captures all the violence, color, and mystery of Francis’ time - a time like our own, full of crisis, craving for reform and for a deeper, simpler, more personal faith. "Reluctant Saint" offers new insights into a life that has engaged the hearts and minds of millions over the centuries.
"Reluctant Saint: Francis of Assisi" is produced by Emmy-winner Pamela Mason Wagner and based on the biography of St. Francis by Donald Spoto, Robert Sean Leonard provides the voice of St. Francis, with additional narration by Liev Schreiber.

I read all the reviews on _Reluctant Saint - Francis of Assisi_ and was interested to observe the divergance of opinion regarding this film. I could not help but notice that opinion was pretty much evenly divided between those who really liked the film and those who really disliked it. For myself, I definitely find it helpful to be able to relate to a sanctity whose humanity is revealed rather than to a sanctity of one who appears to be superhuman. As a matter of fact, I believe that the great saints were not superhuman, but real human beings just like you and me who by their God-given free-will allowed God to literally enter into their souls and take over so that no longer did they live, but God lived in them, that is, the Transforming Union. This requires struggle and suffering and dying to oneself of which none of us are immune, but to which all of us have the choice of saying "Yes" to God. St. Francis entered into this struggle and came out the other end as a saint of momentous sanctity, that is, he entered into total union with God. All he had to do was "Let go and let God", a supposedly simple thing to do, but requiring the utmost simplicity and humility. That is the message and miracle of St. Francis and message to us all, that we are all called to a similar sanctity and only have to follow the lead of the great saints who, though all different in the example manifested by their sanctity - for St. Francis the Counsel of Poverty -, allowed themselves to be totally possessed by Love, that is by God Who is Love. To some saints this happens quickly, to others slowly according to God's plan for them and according to their need to grow in humility and simplicity, "Unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven".
The reason I love this film is because it shows the humanity of St. Francis, a humanity to which we can all relate.
May we all be blessed by the Gift of St. Francis!

  societystf | Mar 11, 2016 |
This retelling of the story of Francis of Assisi is quite well done: a mixture of location re-enactments, art and some talking head interviews. Don Spoto, who wrote the book of the same name, had a large input into the development of the film, and much of his analysis of 13th Century society and Francis' place in it remains in the film.

Miraculous events in the Francis story are explained naturalistically.Talking crucifixes, preaching to birds and the stigmata don't have to be taken literally. In general, this strengthens their meaning in Francis' life.

While some of the re-enactments are a little strained,this would be a good movie to recommend to church people who want to know more about Francis and the new approach to Christian faith and living he inspired. ( )
  TedWitham | Aug 20, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wagner, Pamela MasonDirectorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leonard, Robert SeanVoice of Francissecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schreiber, LievNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spoto, Donald Original Booksecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Offers new insights into the life and times of Francis of Assisi.

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