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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

Benedetta - Review (London Film Festival 2021)

Miracles Are More Trouble Than They're Worth. 3.5 / 5

Directed by Paul Verhoeven.

In the late 17th century, with plague ravaging the land, Benedetta Carlini joins the convent in Pescia, Tuscany, as a novice. Capable from an early age of performing miracles, Benedetta’s impact on life in the community is immediate and momentous.

From the director of Robocop comes a French-language religious-themed period piece that delves into faith, temptation, and power that purposely aims to shock and distress with a wickedly humourous glint in its eye.

There's a purposely overdramatic feel to every element in this film.

The performances are exaggerated versions of themselves - pushing and challenging stereotypes.

The religious visions that Benedetta has would normally be played for dramatic and powerful effect in other films but had my audience laughing out loud as the extremes they go to make their point known.

The temptation that may otherwise be tame and sinful becomes full-on erotism, made purposely for a response thanks to a certain significant moment with a Virgin Mary statuette.

I didn't know what to expect and I honestly still don't entirely know what to make of Benedetta.

It's unyielding in the way it tells its story in a way I could only describe as uncompromisingly camp. At the very least, it's worth seeing with a crowd for the communal experience of "What is going on?".

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