A priest from the Vatican is sent to Sao Paulo, Brazil to investigate the appearance of the face of the Virgin Mary on the side of a building. While there he hears of a statue of the Virgin... See full summary »
A sheriff (Thornton) begins an investigation into the death of a local transsexual after hearing that high ranking politicians may have been involved. Although he is homophobic, his ... See full summary »
Billy Bob Thornton,
A Single Woman is a distinct, lively portrait of Jeannette Rankin (the first American woman elected to Congress; also a suffragist, peace activist and reformer) that takes us from her ... See full summary »
Upon getting out of prison, a man who took the rap for some thief buddies gets together with them again, and tells them he's not interested in doing things with them any more. They stick a ... See full summary »
Laura is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after the murder of her husband and son, and goes on vacation with her sister to Burma. After losing her passport at a political rally, she... See full summary »
U Aung Ko,
An intimate story of the enduring bond of friendship between two hard-living men, set against a sweeping backdrop: the American West, post-World War II, in its twilight. Pete and Big Boy ... See full summary »
The story of Bruno, a rough, heavy man overly fond of drinking. His only desire is to be a normal person, but fate would have it otherwise. One day he wakens to find that his hands are ... See full summary »
A priest from the Vatican is sent to Sao Paulo, Brazil to investigate the appearance of the face of the Virgin Mary on the side of a building. While there he hears of a statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding tears in a small town outside of the city. Meanwhile, a young woman in the U.S. begins to show signs of stigmata, the wounds of Christ. The priest from the Vatican links up with her and cares for her as she is increasingly afflicted by the stigmata. Her ranting and raving finally begins to make sense to the priest who starts to question what his religion has stood for for the last 1900 years. Written by
Jeff Mellinger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A clever blend of Christian mysticism and 20th Century narcissistic cynicism
STIGMATA: Well, this one is certain to be somewhat controversial with hardcore fundamentalist Christians and the equally dedicated Catholic, but I personally found the movie to be far from irreverent, and actually rather faithful in parts. Though the film balances psychological terror and armchair Christian mythology, the movie manages to present a thought-provoking dramatic episode by clashing the faithful and the faithless, the true spirituality and hypocrisy, the sincere and the mundane.
The film centers on the experiences of a young woman who is a self-professed athiest who manages to somehow be afflicted with The Stigmata, a paranormal experience wherein the "victim" or the "gifted" (dependant upon one's point of view) is afflicted/touched by God and with manifestations of the wounds Christ suffered at His Crucifixion. These include the wounds through the wrists, the feet, the crown of thorns, the scourging of the back and finally the spear through the side.
Into the mix is tossed a mildly agnostic Catholic priest/scientist assigned by Rome to investigate supposed "miracles." Also blended into the story is a sub plot full of political goings on inside the Vatican and the attraction between the priest and the young woman afflicted. So not only does the movie examine The Stigmata, spirituality, Christian myth, and the Catholic tradition, but it explores the inner workings of the Church (to a very critical degree) and the meeting of man, woman and God. It's also entertaining.
The movie seems to be marketed as a modern-day "The Exorcist." I don't think the comparison is fair. Though there does appear to be some sort of possession story happening, it somehow ends up being mostly the desperate actions of a benevolent spirit of a deceased priest trying to get attention and bring the Truth to light. Obviously the more fundamental Christian believer familiar with the Christian mythos would find this plot element suspect, and dramatically it's only mildly fulfilling. For this reason the mature and educated viewer might find the ending of the film anticlimactic and arguably "sell out," but the casual viewer would probably find nothing questionable about the Hollywood ending. Personally, I thought it tainted an otherwise splendidly atmospheric film. The integration of Catholic mysticism with MTV-era music video filmography at times seems nearly as visually attractive as Madonna's "Just Like a Prayer" video, though not quite as sublime.
I'll give the movie 3 stars, mostly solidified by strong dialogue and exceptional performances from both Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne as the woman and the priest. On it's own merits, the film manages to create a foundation from which the viewer is challenged to fill in the blanks re: the spiritual goings-on, but it loses points where it attempts to find cheap thrills and reinvent the spiritual-psychological horror portrayed in The Exorcist by turning an interesting and engaging look at mystic spirituality's interaction with the 20th Century's narcissistic cynicism into something more akin to the later OMEN movies.
37 of 59 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?