Tag Archives: Jim Caviezel

WHAT TO SEE: Romeo and Juliet in Hawaii

Running for Grace
Ryan Potter, Jim Caviezel, Matt Dillon, Olivia Richie
Runtime: 110 min
Rated TV-14

Jim Caviezel has played his share of virtuous characters and even starred as Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ (2004). He plays a far less righteous figure as he teams with fellow veteran actor Matt Dillon as doctors serving in the Kona Coffee Belt of early 20th-century Hawaii in the 2018 film Running for Grace, now available through streaming services.

Although Caviezel and Dillon provide the star power, the film centers on the forbidden romance between Jo (portrayed as a teenager by Ryan Potter), and Grace Danielson (Olivia Richie), the pretty daughter of a coffee plantation owner. Jo is a “half-breed,” as he is derisively called in two languages, and is orphaned when the Spanish flu ravages the islands in 1919. Considered bad luck by the Japanese coffee pickers and likewise rejected by bigoted non-native haoles, young Jo wanders the village until the kindly Doc Lawrence (Dillon) takes him in. He becomes Doc’s translator and later his “medicine runner” to deliver remedies by foot through lush mountains to plantation workers.

As Jo grows into adulthood, he aspires to be a doctor himself, and his desire to meet Grace – whom he had previously only admired from afar – prompts him to handle a sick call to the Danielson mansion in Doc’s absence. The bigoted Mr. Danielson resents Doc for this alleged permission and responds by recruiting a “real doctor” to serve the haoles. Enter Dr. Reyes (Caviezel), a smooth-talking alcoholic with an automobile.

When Reyes asks Danielson for Grace’s hand in marriage, Danielson hatches a plan by which Reyes and his supposed assets might save the plantation from an unrevealed impending bankruptcy. To fight for Grace’s hand, Jo must overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles of race and class as the film builds to its climactic scene.

“Predictable but pleasant” is how one major film-review journal describes Running for Grace, and perhaps that is accurate enough. But this pleasant, squeaky-clean film with its gorgeous scenery, solid acting performances, positive values, and feel-good ending is a satisfying enough diversion for adults and adolescents.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

WHAT TO SEE: Paul, Apostle of Christ

Starring Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier
Martinez, Joanne Whalley, and John Lynch
Run time: 106 min
Rated PG-13

Nero probably didn’t fiddle while Rome burned, but history does record that Nero blamed the disaster on the Christians and launched a brutal persecution. That’s where “Paul, Apostle of Christ” begins — at a time when the faithful are in hiding, the lions are well fed, and the burning bodies of martyrs light the streets.

The Acts of the Apostles ends with Paul preaching openly while under a rather generous house arrest, but this film is set a few years later, with Paul (James Faulkner) confined to Mamertine Prison, Rome’s version of death row. Through bribery, Luke (Jim Caviezel) is spirited in to visit Paul, partly to bring solace and partly to record Paul’s memoirs. Meanwhile, Aquila and Priscilla (John Lynch and Joanne Whalley), who had ministered with Paul and returned to Rome to help lead the Church there, try to hold together an underground Christian community whose members are divided over whether to revolt, to continue their clandestine presence in Rome, or to flee to the safety of Ephesus.

Prison prefect Mauritius (Olivier Martinez) isn’t a fan of Nero and doesn’t see the gentle, aging Paul as a threat to the Roman Empire, so he follows the emperor’s orders without enthusiasm. After repeated prayers and sacrifices to Roman gods fail to heal his dying young daughter, Mauritius in desperation turns to Luke, the Christian physician.

Ultimately, however, this film isn’t about miraculous healings or winning converts. It’s about perseverance in faith in the direst of circumstances, as Paul wrote from his Roman cell: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7).

Life is short, heaven eternal. We would do well to apply to our own sufferings the words of Paul in one scene as he reassures Christian prisoners about to be fed to the lions: “It will be a moment of pain, but only a moment… and then we shall be home in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ forever.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Guadalupe: The Miracle and the Message

guadalupe

Narrated by Jim Caviezel
Run time: 58 minutes
New on DVD, $19.95
Not rated
Official Website

This new documentary film narrated by actor Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) offers original insights into the details, story and impact of the 16th century apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe — one of the most recognizable religious icons in the American hemisphere.

Produced by the Knights of Columbus, the film paints a comprehensive and inspiring picture of the history, facts and legacy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Being aired as part of ABC television’s Visions and Values series, the documentary will have a broadcast window from Oct. 11 to Dec. 10. It was simultaneously released on DVD.

The film delves into the inexplicable existence of the image that appeared on the tilma (cloak) of an indigenous convert, St. Juan Diego, who received a series of visions of the Virgin Mary over the course of four days in December 1531.

The indigenous people were amazed how the image revealed important elements of the Christian faith through native symbols — an actual codex — that they could understand. Most experts and historians affirm that the image miraculously imprinted on the tilma resulted in the conversion of millions to the Catholic faith.

The image itself has long been puzzling to the scientific community, since it has been shown to exist without having been painted, has survived despite extreme age, adverse conditions and a bombing.

The image also exhibits features reminiscent of photographs, such as reflections in the image’s eyes, even though it appeared hundreds of years before photography.

The documentary brings this remarkable history to life through modern reenactments, 3D animations that allow viewers an unprecedented glimpse into the intricacies of the centuries-old wonder, and interviews with leading theologians, historians and scientists.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.

When the Game Stands Tall

Jim Caviezel’s new film is absolutely destined to become a sports classic . . .

gameWhen the Game Stands Tall
Starring Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern
In theaters Aug. 22
Rated PG

Inspired by a true story, When the Game Stands Tall tells the remarkable journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur (Caviezel), who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151- game winning streak (1992-2003) that shattered all records for any American sport.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the film is a revealing portrait of Ladouceur’s belief in instilling basic life skills where winning is not the goal, but merely the byproduct of playing the game. The private Catholic high school in Concord, Calif., continues to inspire athletes across the country.

Official website