Watch The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

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R
| | 2 hr 28 min | Action, Adventure, Drama, History, War

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc stars Milla Jovovich as the 15th century real life peasant girl turned soldier who led France to oust the English occupiers of the Hundred Years' War. Although not a documentary, the movie is pretty faithful to the spirit of events and does an excellent job of using dramatic license to further the goal of effective storytelling without undue disrespect to actual historical events. For example, some battle scenes clearly pull important details from more than one actual battle, thereby conveying important information without dragging the movie out excessively.

The movie opens with a description of the deep trouble France was in and the statement that their only hope would be "a miracle." The early part of the movie portrays Joan as a very enthusiastically religious child who goes to church up to three times a day to confess every little sin and beg God's forgiveness. It also shows war coming to her village, where her older sister saves Joan's life by hiding her in a cupboard, from which she witnesses the violent death of her sister and desecration of the dead body. These background scenes do a good job of conveying some sense of the forces that shaped her psychologically and compelled her to her destiny as a female soldier, leader, martyr and saint.

The rest of the movie focuses on her teen years, during which time this illiterate peasant girl traveled in disguise to meet the heir to the French throne, convinced him to give her a leadership role in battle, and led France to one shocking victory after another. It includes the historically accurate detail that after proving how thoroughly she could kick butts and take names, sometimes when she asked the English to please leave and not make her kill them, they did exactly that. The movie wraps up with her capture, imprisonment, trial and execution by fire at the age of "about nineteen."

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Stars
Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman, Pascal Greggory
Director
Luc Besson
Language
English
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