Saint Maud (2019) reviews and overview

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[Total: 54   Average: 3/5]

‘Your savior is coming’

Saint Maud is a 2019 British horror feature film in which a pious young home nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

Written and directed by Rose Glass (A Moment of Horror), making her feature debut, the movie stars Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle and Lily Frazer.

Plot:

Live-in nurse Maud (Morfydd Clark) arrives at the home of Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), a famous dancer now frail from illness and trapped in her grand, isolated house. At first, Amanda is intrigued by this religious young woman, who provides a distraction from her failing health. Maud, in turn, is bewitched by her new patient.

However, Maud is not all that she seems. She is tormented by a violent secret from her past and by ecstatic messages she believes are directly from God. She becomes convinced she has been sent to Amanda not simply as a nurse, but to serve a divine purpose. As her grip on reality slides out of control, Maud’s care turns into a deadly mission to save Amanda’s soul, by any means necessary…

Release:

Saint Maud was due to be released in the USA by A24 (Midsommar; Hereditary; The Witch; et al) in Spring 2020 but this was cancelled due to the pandemic. The UK theatrical release was also rescheduled and will now be on 9th October 2020 via Studiocanal.

[May contain spoilers] Reviews:

Saint Maud succeeds both as horror and as a moving psychological study of a sensitive, lonely, troubled mind. Stunning, powerful and constantly gripping, the film also startles us with a bold and terrifying denouement. Saint Maud is a truly impressive, confident debut feature – a daring yet compassionate examination of psychology and religion, offering several layers of complexity dressed in horror’s clothes.” Attack from Planet B

“If mental illness has been leaned on by horror cinema as an easy signifier of monstrosity, Saint Maud seeks instead to understand and empathise. Its subjective perspective forces us to see the world as experienced by its protagonist. Saint Maud understands isolation neither as a reaction against society nor a direct symptom of it.” Cinevue

“Some viewers may be frustrated by the fact that Glass’s script may seem to leave the events of its shocking conclusion open to interpretation. (Is Maud actually crazy? Has God actually been guiding her all along?) But it all comes down to one staggering final shot, lensed by cinematographer Ben Fordesman (previously known for his work on TV shows like The End of the F***ing World) in a style Carl Theodor Dreyer himself would have loved.” Crooked Marquee

” …it never overstays its welcome despite the languid pace. Instead, the editing allows the movie to flow with minimal fat and a preciseness in direction. The pacing is assisted by the director’s style, utilising direction to convey character and tone from the onset. This is especially relevant with the protagonist, Glass’ use of framing helping to create a sparseness around Maud.” Cultured Vultures

“Blending together elements of psycho-sexual horror, wickedly acerbic comedic undertones, and exploring the psychosis of religious consecration that pits the wills of these two determined women against each other, Saint Maud is truly an unsettling character study that slowly crawls under your skin and doesn’t let go until the film’s brutal and shocking climax.” Daily Dead

Saint Maud is aesthetically brooding, torturously devoted to exploring mankind’s most selfish martyrdoms, and, yes, accomplishes sainthood bastardization – if a bit too confident in impact upon exit. Rose Glass takes a simple caretaker scenario and keeps her holy infection even simpler, for better and worse depending on which scene you select.” Flickering Myth

“I mentioned at the beginning, the film Joker. If that film is deemed a good one, with regards to mental health, frankly, Saint Maud stomps all over it. It is a compelling, unsettling, disturbing and devastatingly powerful film. Simply put, it’s the best film I’ve seen this year so far.” The Grump of Horror

” …perhaps the scariest horror film of the year. Forcing you to sit on edge waiting for Maud to snap. Pouring over the human grotesquery of its characters, both physical and moral, before entering the otherworldly. By the end, it may have you believing that Maud really is a Saint of sorts. A merciless, Old Testament-style Saint determined to save our souls even if it kills us.” HeyUGuys

“Shot in Scarborough, showcasing a seedily nightmarish ragged beachfront, and built around outstanding work from the female leads […] Suspense is generated as the film see-saws as to whether Maud or Amanda is the biggest threat – or potential saviour – to the other.  A very impressive debut from Glass.” The Kim Newman Web Site

Saint Maud succeeds both as horror and as a moving psychological study of a sensitive, lonely, troubled mind. Stunning, powerful and constantly gripping, the film also startles us with a bold and terrifying denouement. Saint Maud is a truly impressive, confident debut feature – a daring yet compassionate examination of psychology and religion, offering several layers of complexity dressed in horror’s clothes.” The Movie Waffler

“The strong performances, coupled with a smattering of attention-grabbing sequences, keep things interesting even through the picture’s more overtly static stretches, although it’s worth noting that such concerns are rendered moot by the increasingly enthralling third act – as Glass delivers an engrossing and palpably discomfiting climax…” Reel Film Reviews

” …Saint Maud’s conjuration of wild daylight visions and spiritual torments skillfully blurs the line between a possible medical condition and outright madness, while also slyly suggesting that the film’s heroine may, in fact, be possessed. In this sense, Glass borrows a page from psychoanalysis by portraying zealous spirituality as psychosomatic but gives neither the religious dogma nor medicine a final say.” Sight & Sound

“It takes skill to represent a flawed character, like Maud, who calls to us through all her flaws and her actions. Add to that a fantastically-framed and shot film, with the sad faded artifice of Scarborough forming a suitable backdrop for what unfolds, and we have a fantastically sad, sophisticated but oddly redemptive story.” Warped Perspective

Cast and characters:

Jennifer Ehle … Amanda
Morfydd Clark … Maud
Lily Frazer … Carol
Fiona Thompson … Nurse
Turlough Convery … Christian
Noa Bodner … Hilary
Lily Knight … Joy
Linda E Greenwood … Passerby on beach
Rosie Sansom … Ester
Marcus Hutton … Richard
Carl Prekopp … Homeless Pat
Faith Edwards … Agency Woman 2
Jonathan Milshaw … Handsome Man
Jel Djelal … Barman
Susanne Schraps … Amanda’s Friend

Production companies:

Escape Plan Productions
Film4
BFI Film Fund

  

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