Benedetta ★★★

It’s hard to talk about this movie. I really enjoyed it a lot, but I think it doesn’t convey its messages very clearly. The characters’ motivations are always unclear and flimsy, constantly shifting so that we can’t have a firm grasp of the interiority of the people in the film. I guess it might work better in the novel and could’ve been better adapted. Besides, it also goes from a realistic recreation of a historic past to crappy CGI that highlights the falseness of the sets. On the other hand, I really liked its critique at institutional control, power disputes, manipulation and faith. To me, Benedetta is a female counterpart to Jesus, she mocks his feats and has a somewhat parallel story including miracles, resurrection and betrayal by someone close to her. She has visions and dreams that bring her close to divinity but are also scary and painful. And there’s also the lesbian nunsploitation, which comes as no surprise as Verhoeven has never shied away from controversy (aware of his record, the moment I saw the Virgin’s figurine I knew exactly where it’d end). In the end, I think its central message is one that shows a double face to deceit, in which those who deceive us have to believe in their lies as well.

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