IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
R | 1h 24min | Drama, Horror | 09 Oct 2020 (UK) | Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92% Certified Fresh (Critics), 64% Fresh (Audience)
Director: Rose Glass
Writers: Rose Glass
Stars: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight
Movie Tagline: “Your Savior is coming.”
IMDb summary: Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.
PLEASE BE AWARE BEFORE YOU READ ON WE ARE NOT SPOILER-FREE. THANK YOU.
Saint Maud has a history. The year of release for Saint Maud is 2019, but COVID-19 had something to say about that. The release date notwithstanding, Saint Maud’s anticipation level seemed to grow with each release date pushback. What’s interesting to note is that given the subject matter of the film, fans didn’t entirely dislike it. For a film that deals with some heavy subject-matter, that’s a little surprising and pays tribute to this film’s complexity.
Maud is a woman who has lost her way. Maud is employed as a Nurse at a local hospital. We cannot see why Maud ends her employment with this hospital. We are only given glimpses of the event itself. Maud is then forced to take on private hospice work as a nurse. And this is where the film really begins. Maud finds herself captivated by her ward – a woman named Amanda who was once a dancer but is now bedridden. As Maud becomes more and more obsessed with her piety and the piety of Amanda, their relationship begins to develop into something beyond Maud’s expectations.
It’s not clear if Maud thinks of her relationship with Amanda as sexual. But Maud begins to become increasingly jealous of Amanda and her relationship with another woman. Amanda is used to having her way and does not kindly take Maud’s intrusion on her private life. Maud and Amanda eventually part ways, and as a result, Maud retreats even further into her own version of reality where she believes she is god’s vessel.
Despite the external influence of God’s will in Maud’s life, Maud’s fragile and fragmented mind is at the centre of it all. Maud genuinely believes that the more she suffers both mental and physical pain, the closer she will be to “God”. And this isn’t all that uncommon, particularly in the Catholic faith where self-flagellation is openly practised today. There are some truly amazing scenes such as the one depicted in the image above, where we are given a first-hand view into what Maud sees and experiences when she is connecting with God. And in turn, it allows the audience to understand that Maud has completely lost her grip on reality and you can’t help but feel pity for her.
While Saint Maud is classified as a horror, the horror scenes are very few and far between. Some may call what is happening to Maud as “horrific”, but it is probably easier to say that this film as psychologically taxing and emotionally draining. On the one hand, you want to see the movie through to the end, but at the same time, you’d be happy for it to end. And we don’t mean that negatively.
Saint Maud is a movie that one should only see once even though the subject matter is extremely thought-provoking. The most important scenes in the film are not what you’d expect. To understand what Maud is seeing and experiencing is crucial to understanding why she does the things she does. You could even go so far as to say that this movie has very little to do with religion or even horror, and is more about the fragility of a broken mind, which is really quite sad.
Our final comment is that Saint Maud will surprise you in ways you least expect and Is unsettling enough to turn your dreams into nightmares. It’s a stand-out film, not one that everyone will be able to enjoy due to its controversial subject matter. But it is more than worth the wait.