In 1429, in the midst of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, after England had invaded and subjugated the north of France, a 17-year-old French farm girl named Joan of Arc—“Jeanne d’Arc” in French— received divine visions from Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria to expel the English and have Charles VII restored as King of France. Despite her youth, sex and complete lack of military experience, she succeeded in persuading Robert de Baudricourt, the garrison captain at the nearby town of Vaucouleurs, for passage to the French Royal Court in exile to speak with Charles VII. Inconceivably, Joan subsequently also succeeded in persuading Charles VII to give her command of his army. With God on her side, Joan led the French forces into battle, paving the way for eventual victory in the war. Tragically however, Joan herself was captured by the English. She was tried for heresy, found guilty and burned at the stake when she was just 19. Centuries later, Joan of Arc was canonized as a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. This movie is one of very few in cinematic history to have Joan of Arc played by an actual teenager. Leading lady Caitlin Deerin was, at the time of filming, exactly the same age Joan of Arc was at the beginning of her mission.
This is one of the most amazing, touching, and inspiring films I have ever reviewed. In a short run time it manages to tell a powerful and gripping story. Set in a modern time, the movie tells the unforgettable story of young Joan of Arc, just 17 years old and having heard the voice of God. That voice told her that France can defeat England’s grip on her country and that Charles Vll can restore France’s independence and will sit as king on the throne. The odds were heavily stacked against both Joan of Arc and France, but God tipped the scales in their favor! And He used this amazing young woman to do it.
The film recreates Joan going before her sergeant and her captain, seeking an audience and stating her vision from God. Her captain initially refuses the request but when Joan persuades the sergeant to give her one more audience with the captain, this time she is granted permission to lead France against the opposing enemy.
In the most powerful and compelling scene in the film, Joan of Arc is seen in a barn after her capture, being told by her friend Louis that she will die at dawn (to be burned at the stake), but she is told that Charles now sits on the throne. And then comes the showstopper: in an incredible voice, Caitlin Deerin as Joan sings one of the most haunting and audience-capturing songs ever performed in a film, “Wayfaring Stranger,” a song about the life following this one, in a land where there will be no more sorrow or pain, and which features the hope of seeing our father, mother, family, and the Savior. She holds a cross as she sings. Director Lee has said she did this awe-inspiring song in just one take and it is guaranteed to move anyone who listens to the unforgettable song. I was moved and my emotions were stirred.There is nothing to prevent this splendid film from receiving our Dove Seal for All Ages, and so it is awarded our seal.
The Dove Take:
Due to a good story, based on history, along with a great cast, and the haunting song, this film is truly special. Every family member should see it. Caitlin Deerin gives one of the best vocal performances I have ever heard in a movie.