7/10 83-year-old director Paul Verhoeven has never shied away from sexually graphic and/or violent content in his films going back to “Robocop”, “Starship Troopers”, “Showgirls”, etc. After a five year break since his last film, Verhoeven returns with an entertaining, well made but extremely blasphemous film inspired by true events. As a warning to any religious viewers of the Christian/Catholic faith, this is an extremely offensive, sacrilegious film that was partly made to trigger/offend people of faith. Despite my faith, nothing offends me as I simply choose not to be offended in addition to being desensitized from everything I’ve watched over the years but your average film goer who is religious will definitely want to avoid this film. The film deals with a nun who may or may not be faking her stigmata occurrences while simultaneously taking part in a forbidden, lesbian relationship with another nun. While that general plot line stems from a true story in 17th century Italy, Verhoeven takes many liberties with the remainder of the story and changes a lot of the history. Despite some clichés, the changed history and the blasphemous nature of the film meant to invoke anger in many viewers, I can’t help but admire how well made and acted the film is. Despite being over two hours long and entirely in French (with a sprinkle of Latin), I was highly entertained as I tried to decide if our main nun Benedetta (Virginie Efira) was a complete fraud or if her visions/stigmata was real, at least to her. She becomes consumed with her own rise to power and develops an ego, turning away from her lesbian lover Bartolomea (Daphne Patakia) who is her only true ally. The plot was intriguing, the acting was fantastic (Charlotte Rampling is a legend) the visions were visually impressive, the score was fantastic and the pacing strong. Forbidden lesbian dramas have become practically an oversaturated subgenre of film these days and many of them tend to be period pieces so while this might not break a ton of new ground, at least we get a twist on the subgenre mixed in with the religious aspects and the mystery of trying to figure out if this nun is telling the truth of not. In the end, this well made, entertaining film won’t be for mainstream audiences and should definitely be avoided by devout religious viewers but watching the trailer alone should make that abundantly clear. If you don’t mind the blasphemous nature of the film, you will be impressed with the high production quality, expert acting and visually stimulating content, for better or for worse.

#BForBenedetta / #AndThenThereWereNun / #FisterAct / #MagicDyke / #WaitingForTheMiracleToCum / #HakunaStigmata

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