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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 27, 2021



IT’S HOLY WEEK, so let us review a film that is about piety that went to the extreme, “Saint Maud", a British psychological thriller set in a small seaside town. 

It’s about a young nurse, Katie (Morfydd Clark), who we first see sitting in a room with blood on her face. We’re not told what happened to her.

In the next scene, she’s seen making the sign of the cross and praying to God before eating, saying she knows that God has something great in store for her.

We then see her leaving her room and going to a big old house with her suitcase. She now calls herself Maud and is to be the palliative caretaker of Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), an American dancer who is dying of cancer and bedridden. 

Amanda is naturally depressed over her fate and when she sees Maud praying, she asks her if she really believed in God.

Maud says she can really feel God’s presence and Amanda prays with her. 

seem to be both visibly affected by the experience, making Maud believe that God has assigned her to save the soul of Amanda, who’s an unbeliever.

It becomes pretty obvious that Maud is a religious zealot who becomes obsessed with her ward. 

When a friend, Carol, visits Amanda, she becomes jealous and later confronts Carol to ask her to stop visiting Amanda. Carol turns out to be paid sex worker and Amanda is actually a lesbian. 

Maud tells Carol this will put Amanda’s soul in peril so she must leave for good. 

Carol agrees but soon after, she shows up again in Amanda’s birthday party. 

Amanda mocks Maud for trying to save her soul when she was just humoring her and pretending to be a believer. Maud slaps Amanda and she loses her job. 

The lonely Maud then tries to find companionship with other people and while having sex with a guy, her past life is revealed in flashbacks, showing that she had a carefree and sinful life before. 

She begs God to show her a sign as she is ready to do anything that will show her faith in Him. 

She returns to Amanda and you know that their story will not end well as the film is really about a young woman’s descent into madness. It’s easy to understand that some of the scenes that follow are just figments of her crazed imagination.

After watching it, you get the feeling that “Saint Maud” is actually better off as a short film, but it is stretched to be a full length film and as such, the material suffered. This is the directorial debut of Rose Glass, better known as a short film maker. 

There are better films about a character going nuts, like Polanski’s “Repulsion”, “The Ruling Class” with Peter O’Toole, “A Woman Under the Influence” with Gena Rowlands, the French film “Betty Blue”, Cronenberg’s “Spider”, “Black Swan” with Natalie Portman, “Shutter Island” with Leonardo DiCaprio and many more. 

Compared to them, “Saint Maud” is a cumbersome, pointless exercise in delusion and self flagellation with the director giving it some religious overtones.

Those who say it’s a horror film are also deluded as it’s more of a mental illness fantasy with a very thinly drawn lead character with whom we don’t get to sympathize at all.

It’s apparent she’s not on a mission from God but simply a raving lunatic.