Movie Thoughts: Restless Heart: The Confessions of St. Augustine

Restless Heart: The Confessions of St. Augustine is a 2010 Italian film directed by Christian Duguay and starring Alessandro Preziosi and Franco Nero as young and old Augustine. I watched this film on formed.org. The English version was published by Ignatius Press. They did a pretty good job with the dubbing because I didn’t notice until I saw “English Voice Cast” in the credits. The film is a little over 2 hours long. I could tell this movie had a bigger budget than most Catholic films. The props and special effects were pretty good. The acting was also good in most scenes, though a few scenes could have been better.

Restless Heart tells the story of St. Augustine. As part of showing his life, the movie has several key parts in Augustine’s life where he chose between God and evil. These were the parts I found the most interesting. Early in Augustine’s life, he was a successful lawyer. He didn’t care if the people he defended were guilty or not, he was in it for the money, power, and women that winning in court brought him. After a man he obtained acquittal of attempted murder ended up actually carrying out the murder later, Augustine was shaken and chose God.

Augustine took a break from work and returned home, along with his mistress who he had a child with. For a time he was pleased with family life. Given enough time, he may have married the mistress and lived a simple, yet holy life. Unfortunately, Augustine was tempted by a friend who invited him to apply for a prestigious position in Milan as the emperor’s official orator. Augustine’s dreams of fame and power got the better of him. He chose evil and left family life behind, but it wasn’t over yet.

In Milan, Augustine met another gifted orator, St. Ambrose. Over time, Ambrose’s sermons convinced Augustine that there was some truth to the Christian faith. After his mistress left him he attempted to satisfy his need for love with another mistress, but it didn’t help. He found that only God’s love could satisfy him. This was the critical moment of his life. In early times, he went back and forth for God and against God, but this decision was final. He chose God and never went back. There was much more in the movie, but these were the parts I found most interesting.

Restless Heart was a pretty entertaining movie. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was really interesting seeing how Augustine justified his sins and how he wavered between good and evil. One bad thing is that the writers seemed to take some liberties with the history. Some events happened differently in the movie compared to what I read before. I always prefer sticking with history even if it makes the story less entertaining, but they got the overall theme right. Augustine’s life was an internal battle between good and evil in his heart, and the movie captured that perfectly.

The internal battle between good and evil is actually the case for all people, not just Augustine. The battle does not end until we die. Those that let evil win go to hell. Those that have enough good in them go to heaven. That’s why looking at Augustine’s life is so interesting. We get to see how a saint fought this battle and won. In my case, I have found my success at doing good to be dependent on my relationship with God. The closer I am to God, the better I can fight evil. As a result, much of my studies and efforts are on improving my relationship with God. I expect to be working on this the rest of my life. To take a break would let evil slowly intrude on my life again.

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