Stigmata (1999) Poster


User Reviews

Add a Review
399 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
anti church, but not anti-god
dawny131313 November 2003
i thought this movie was excellent. the take on what stigmata is, the 'miracle' of it, the historical and religious views of stigmata are brought together within the plot of the movie.

it is definitely anti-church, or rather, anti-establishment and anti-church politics. but it is not anti-god. the movie points out what many people believe already, that you do not need a church building to believe in god.

yet, it's not a religious movie. it's not really a horror movie. there are parts that are horrific, and it will make you think. don't watch this if you're in the mood for mindless entertainment. see it, and make your own judgements on what it's about. even if you don't agree with the premise, the acting and the storyline are well worth it.
82 out of 97 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Better than you might think
Michael Powe26 January 2003
The "stigmata" is a Christian religious term that refers to the spontaneous appearance of wounds corresponding to the wounds on the Christ's body when he was crucified. This religious experience is most typically associated with deeply religious people and, I believe, is not one that is widely taken seriously. What makes this movie interesting is that it portrays the appearance of these wounds as a terrifying, extremely painful and ultimately humiliating experience. There's nothing conventionally religious in the experience portrayed here -- in fact, the victim is an athiest.

But, having bypassed the conventional, the movie is only partially successful in bringing the experience of the stigmata to the screen. The movie is a victim itself of a conventional portrayal of the evil bureaucratic Vatican desk jockeys suppressing "true" religion. And I have to admit that, as I was watching it, I found myself thinking, "Hmm, that sounds like the Gospel of Thomas," -- a famous Gnostic Gospel. Surprise.

But, overall, I'd recommend it as a decent movie and a departure from the generic, bland portrayal of Christian religious experience a la the Hallmark channel or "Touched by an Angel." It is a movie that can make you think about the nature of religious experience and its impact on an ordinary life.
50 out of 61 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Well worth a look
vlijames26 March 2001
Stigmata was a very watchable interesting film which is engaging and thought provoking. It's certainly not a perfect movie but in patches was excellent, and the mood of the film was just right. It was suprisingly "non-hollywood" in many respects and very understated if you look beyond the gore of the mutilation and stigmata scenes.

My only major gripe with the movie was the sometimes ludicrous way that characters close to Frankie (Patricia Arquette) seemed unwilling to take her seriously or believe her affliction despite the fact that they witnessed amazing supernatural events first hand. Her best mate who told her to chill out and relax because it was a Friday night, having seen this event earlier in the week, bordered on high farce. Surely all the doctors, clergy and news reporters in the world would have been at her bedside after seeing the train video camera of this event?

Anyway, this aside, many other aspects of the film were first rate and I was pleased the DVD version had the alternate and, in my opinion, better ending (subtle though the difference is). Comparisons with the Exorcist seem to cloud the opinions of many people in relation to this film, and my advice would be just to watch it and take it for what it is. The concept is quite original and the examination of faith and the modern church is interesting. Certainly I wouldn't say the film was anti-religious, in fact in many respects it adds weight to religious belief as the concept introduces the stigmata phenomenom to the audience.

Overall, very good, 7 out of 10.
36 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I very underestimated movie
grimsh28 April 2003
This movie is a proof (at least to me) that you should not always trust reviews and user comments. After reading comments on this movie I had a picture that it wouldn't be very good at all, but I was certainly corrected on that point. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. The movie is quite "heavy" though, so I can understand that it doesn't appeal to everyone, but for anyone who likes a little depth and aren't influenced by what other people think I really recommend this movie. I rated it 9 out of 10, and it was certainly worth it.
73 out of 99 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Better than my first impression
cynic7014 February 2001
Stigmata is at the very least controversial. I feel that it's really struggling to find a genre, so it's harsh to compare it to the Exorcist as many have. This is a film based somewhat on truth, and somewhat on legend with a little Hollywood finesse to bring it all together. It doesn't stay completely true to either a Christian audience or to mainstream Hollywood, but I think that's to it's credit. I don't know many people who knowingly make this kind of cross-over in their normal rental choices, so in that way, it helps to reach the largest possible audience. The way that the film afflicts it's heroine with the stigmata through the rosary is just typical screenwriting, and the romance aspects are predictable. The film, based upon the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, assumes that the discovery of that scroll had never been know to the public, and that personal vendettas within the Vatican had helped to suppress it. In reality however, there have been numerous translations of that Gospel, although I rather doubt that the modern bible will be amended. (Due to it's debated authenticity.) In short, the film is thought-provoking, yet not heavy-handed in it's message. It leaves you asking questions as to your own faith, and to the nature of the established "church" far after you've reached the final credits. As an action-suspense-thriller I'd rank it about a 7 out of 10, but in terms of it's religious nature it succeeds greatly in the find-the-truth-for-yourself message that it conveys.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Captivitating religious horror
ThrownMuse20 January 2005
Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) is a hip 20-something New Yorker who faces a nasty wake-up call when she gets randomly attacked by an unseen force, puncturing her wrists. While the hospital calls it a suicide attempt, the Vatican thinks she may be showing signs of stigmata and sends a priest (Gabriel Byrne) to investigate.

This is one of the more clever "religious horror" films that I've seen. Using a young atheist girl as the recipient of stigmata is an original and intriguing concept. The various violent scenes where the fabulously stylish Arquette is attacked are gory and horrific, but so gorgeously shot that you cannot take your eyes away. Unfortunately, there are too many boring scenes of babbling priests. There was a bit of controversy when this was released because it hypothesizes about some very horrific skeletons in the closet of the Catholic church. The DVD features the Director's alternate ending that is decidedly less Hollywoodized than the theatrical release, but leaves the story in a confused, contradictory space. Recommended for fans of religious and stylish horror. My Rating: 7/10
25 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A clever blend of Christian mysticism and 20th Century narcissistic cynicism
jester-3010 September 1999
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.
41 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Do you appreciate movies that make you think? *SPOILERS*
Cass28 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"Stigmata" is not a horror movie, but it is a religiously-centered suspense thriller that makes you think about your own faith. If you don't, then this movie is not for you. I loved this movie because I was able to sit through it and it made me think about my own walk with Christ.

I think there are so many negative comments for this movie from Americans because it is easier for modern audiences to sit down and flame a movie for what THEY WANT IT TO BE rather than WHAT IT IS.

This movie is about a lot of things; love popping up in the strangest places, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and finding the truth for yourself through your own hard work.

On a personal note, I think Arquette (Frankie Paige) and Byrne (Father Andrew Keirnan) did a fine job bringing their characters to life, and Pryce (Housman) was truly convincing as the Cardinal who wants to keep everything secret. Byrne was the true treasure of the piece- his Father Keirnan was very convincing as a questioning religious scientist.

The confrontation scene at the end between the spirit of Father Alemeida and Keirnan was very poignant and intense. Some people claim that the garden scene from the end is a let down (What did you expect, a mad tongue war in the garden of the church diocese?), but maybe you didn't see the statue of St. Francis and notice the parallelism to Frankie's clothing. She was dressed a lot like St. Francis. Something to remember is that St. Francis was a radical... like Frankie, an atheist who eventually comes to have faith (so says the spirit of Father Alemeida) in Christ and God.

The DVD has an alternate ending that is especially touching. I am glad that they didn't use it, though- it would have made me cry.

This movie made me investigate more into Stigmata- you should too. I'm not even Catholic, but I found a lot of insight into deeply spiritual people through my research.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Contrived but effective (SPOILER WARNING)
FlickJunkie-213 May 2000
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER WARNING: This comment contains specific references to plot elements that reveal the ending. It is strongly recommended that you see the film before reading this review.

‘Stigmata' uses as its premise the actual existence of the gospel of Thomas, a gospel taken from a scroll found in 1945, and condemned by the Catholic Church as heresy. This gospel gives essentially the same message as the gospel in the film, that the kingdom of God is of this earth and it is not about heaven, churches or religion. But clearly, the gospel in the film is not Thomas, despite the allusion at the end of the film. Thomas was written in Greek not Aramaic, and has been dated by scholars to the second century, hardly contemporaneous with Jesus. The film is a highly contrived fictional yarn that imaginatively invents a scroll of Jesus' words and then takes the religious mythos of stigmata and combines it with the mythos of possession (in ways not consistent with either) as a device to reveal the plot of the Church to keep the gospel a secret.

We are asked to believe that an atheist gets stigmata (no such event has ever been reported) as the result of possession by the spirit of a dead human whom she never knew (this is the purview of the devil; human spirits are not thought to possess living beings) because she touched his rosary beads (also touched by her mother, the boy who sold them to her and Father Kiernan without effect). Ok, I guess that's what fantasy films are supposed to do, conjure improbable situations out of the imagination. Still, it takes liberties that distort and misrepresent religious beliefs, which is always risky business. While watching this film, I had to pretend I didn't know what I know. Once over this hurdle, it was an fascinating, engaging and frightening story.

There are other strange inconsistencies and unanswered questions though. Father Alameida was a good and pious man. Yet he possesses Frankie with an evil vengeance and attempts to use Frankie to sexually seduce Kiernan, beating him from pillar to post when he doesn't consent. That's just not consistent with who Alameida was. Also, why was Frankie strong enough to throw Kiernan around the room like a rag doll, but helpless to stop Cardinal Houseman from choking her? And what was all the dripping water about? If that was explained somewhere, I must have missed it.

Comparisons between this and ‘The Exorcist' are misplaced. They really had nothing in common other than the fact that the main character was possessed. There is one scene during the rage following Frankie's seduction attempt of Kiernan that had obvious elements of comparison but that was about it. This was not an exorcism and the devil was nowhere to be found.

From a filmmaking standpoint, this film was terrific. Rupert Wainwright does a marvelous job from start to finish with this film. The photography was fantastic. The use of the camera perspectives, scene set up and various techniques including slow motion, double exposures, rapid fire jump cuts and reverse slow motion were all fabulous (though sometimes used to excess) and added power and impact to create some very scary footage. I've read complaints about the sound, but the sound on the DVD copy I had was great with excellent surround effects. It was a bit loud at times but not so much that I had to ride shotgun on the volume control.

This was a marvelous breakthrough performance for Patricia Arquette. When she was in Frankie mode she was sometimes arrogant and self centered, and at others sweet, helpless and terrified. When in possession mode she was powerful and frightening. She handled all these states believably and with aplomb.

Gabriel Byrne also gave a wonderful performance as Father Kiernan. He achieved just the right balance between intellectual skepticism and self doubt with a genuine concern for Frankie.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. Yes, the story was flawed, but not irretrievably. As a supernatural thriller it was first rate. I rated it an 8/10. Not for the squeamish.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Story of faith
Schaphra21 July 2000
Giving comment after a few days after I seen it, I must say that in this picture lays something that, in my opinion is one of the most biggest issues of modern, or should I say, of Christianity itself; what Jesus had had in mind when he talked about God in us? Do we really need mediator between Him and ourselves?

-Very good crew and scenario had make this movie very interesting. Byrne is really good, though sometimes is rather 'inconvincible', but, as a priest-scientist, maybe he has right on some 'perplexities'. Patricia Arquette is one of my favorite actresses, and I love her in this movie, or any else.

Director is unknown to me, I must confess it, but, from what I have seen in this movie, it has some interesting views on filming, and I would really like to see his other works, or future ones. Rade Serbedgia in this film look like his not interested. It's a loss.

Film has some frightful scenes, but in major, it's very good movie which gives us some new perspective on Jesus words that the God is in us.

People who has no idea, or been religious fanatics should avoid this film. This film, also, is not the most intelligent topic that has been ever recorded, but it has some good points.

Try figure it out. It's not shallow. And, please, use your own head, and don't be molested by religious fanatics; they would first crucifix Christ just for the way he looks.
15 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Let me tell you why it's good
tomis-113 December 2002
Perhaps for you it was boring, but for me it was great time. First of all, there aren't any plot holes, you're making things up. You can find any arguments and i'll throw them back at you, cause they just don't stand up. There was no 'priests hitmen squad', they came to take the girl and exorcise her, it's easy. So this is out. Next. They were priests, they couldn't have killed her in cold blood. That cardinal decided that it would be best for his church to 'sacrifice' her and live with it,when he saw she resisted . That's why he told the others to leave the room. The personal background of Byrne and his reasons to become a priest are irelevant, in real life people become priests for far more stupid reasons ( "my grandfather was a priest" , "i'll make more money"). The water dripping was very touching, i don't know why. I have the intuition of what it means, it can't be expressed by words. Anyway. The poor girl became stigmatised because she was pure, she didn't have doubts about her life more than any other person, and through the crucifix she became posessed by that 'very holy man'. That man was stigmatised, so his stigmatisation passed on to the pure 'messenger'. Purity - the water. The drips are the events. When it's a drip of water, the atmosphere is calm. The calm before the storm. In other scenes we see the blood dripping. Easy to understand what that means. And so on and so forth. Let me tell you, i saw a lot of blood at my life, it doesn't affect me. The first half an hour of 'Stigmata' beginning the scene in the bathroom, made me sick to my stomach. And i've seen some bloody movies . This wasn't for free. The atmosphere was lovely, i enjoyed the movie. Of course, if they've extended the length of the movie a little and inserted some interesting ideas that were omitted then we've might seen a hit. Too bad that the movie was made only for a section of the public. I'm not a very religious person ( i go to church ) but this movie was deep, and i loved it. I said.
19 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
You missed the point
Matt22 December 2003
I do admit this movie really questions catholic morals but thats not what its about... the film was about showing a diferent a view on catholosism and therefore shouldnt be viewed by catholics who aren't into that type of thing. Its odd but for some reason a book all about the universe and someone who knows all about the universe is written only by onlookers and bystanders. The people who made the movie are not saying that it did or didn't happen but it is possible that these onlookers might have made a mistake on how Jesus and God want us to be. All this movie does is try to make you think deeper about religion, and I love it for that. If your like me you would really like "Dogma" too ;)
32 out of 61 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The messenger must be silenced.
Jack the Ripper188815 December 2002
Let me start off by saying that I love the beginning of this movie. I love the opening scene to the cruci-fixion scenes. Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne both do good acting jobs. The film is about a young girl with no faith in god who begins to recieve the wounds of the crucified Christ, the Stigmata.

I must say that I was very disappointed in the ending. It was not the climax that I was hoping for. But I was still enthralled enough to keep watching until the film ended. If you are totally into the religious horror movies, like me, I suggest that you also see END OF DAYS, LOST SOULS, BLESS THE CHILD, and I'm sure there's some other movie like those out there. STIGMATA gets 4/5.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Some very disturbing material, but the scenes don't fit together to form an actual story. **1/2 out of ****
Movie-1225 September 1999
Warning: Spoilers
STIGMATA (1999) **1/2

Starring: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Nia Long, Jonathan Pryce, and Thomas Kopache Director: Rupert Wainwright 108 minutes Rated R (for strong graphic violence, some language, thematic elements, and brief sexuality)

By Blake French:

"Stigmata" is a very strange film. It takes a real hit on Catholicism, and at times, religion in general. Obviously, "Stigmata" isn't a film for all audiences, people with strong religious beliefs, for instance, and is certainly not appropriate for younger viewers. The production has so many good qualities, it's a shame to ultimately conceive that the flaw that sunk the motion picture is not its story or characters, but the individual scenes themselves. I can compare this film's failure to a jigsaw puzzle in which there are many interestingly shaped and colorful pieces, but, unfortunately, they do not fit together to create a final piece of work.

The filmmakers are hard at work here, including the production designers who, feature attractive, idealistic and convincing set designs and interesting prop use. The audience does buy the film as biblical territory. And with this to their credit, they should have gone way over the top with the touchy subject "Stigmata" deals with. Well, they do indeed take the plot the extra mile here, and quite graphically at times, may I add. But they go so far over the top at times, the filmmakers have nowhere to go after the scenes of aggressiveness. Those instances in the movie change tone rather rapidly. This is due to the very high peak of tension created. Therefore, the film has nowhere to go but downhill, giving us an overall production that has about a half dozen really scary moments that last about thirty seconds each, and the rest of the movie is just mediocre melodrama.

The film opens with an acclaimed and dedicated Priest/scientist named Andrew Kiernan investigating a bizarre occurrence in a Brazilian church where a religious statue bled from its eyes. After noticing a few unique things in this town, however, after he returns home to Cardinal Daniel Houseman, Kiernan pleads to be sent back to this area to investigate further, but his requests are suspiciously denied.

The film then jumps to another story, where a young atheist woman named Frankie Paige lives an independent life in Pittsburgh where she is occupied as a hair stylist with her fellow coworkers, including close friend Donna.

Things drastically heat up for Frankie after she receives a rather significant gift from her mother who was shopping on vacation. This is an item from a salesperson off the streets whom himself stole from a dead Brazilian priest. Soon, Frankie begins to suffer violent, disturbing visions and appearing on her afterwards are wounds resembling the ones suffered by Christ, a symptom called the stigmata.

This is where the Priest comes in. After more and more stigmata attacks are inflicted on Frankie, Kiernan is sent to Pittsburgh where he investigates. It is when Frankie explains to Kiernan that she does not believe in God when he then denies the occurring stigmata attacks on her. You see, usually the stigmata happens to deeply religious Catholics, and Frankie is anything but. On the other hand, never before has each one of the five stigmatic wounds taken place on one individual person, and by the time this film is over, guess how many Frankie will have suffered.

I liked the film's characters, as did I the performances. It is interesting for me to see such a shallow character as Frankie Paige be caught right in the middle of such a deep, spiritual situation. And who better to play the character than the always entertaining Patricia Arquette, who dazzled earlier this year in "Goodbye, Lover," and now, with "Stigmata," plays Paige with the right sarcasm material.

This is not to say that "Stigmata" is perfect in its use of characters--as a madder of fact, the film is characteristically flawed. Take, for instance, Frankie's best friend, Donna, who at first is present to serve as a companion for Frankie. Then, right in the middle of the movie, when the script no longer required her presence, she completely disappears without a trace. Why does this happen? Because the story gets too involved for the characters to have "buddies," making the rest of the characters, although not completely, puppets of the plot.

"Stigmata" contains the kind of plot that I liked to experience; a deep, involved and revealing storyline that focuses on touchy subjects. The characters are lost in their dialogue, but if the audience buys the premise, they allow themselves to be sucked in the events that transpire. The person who I saw this movie with found the plot too absorbing for her, and I have a feeling that this is how the majority of an audience will feel, therefore, although it is a close call for me, I am not recommending the film. I do feel, however, that there is a group of individuals out there who, like I somewhat was able to do, will happen to enjoy this production for what it is worth. If the film fit together a bit more, I think there may have been much potential here. But in the end, "Stigmata," gets lost in its controversial atmosphere and forgets that movies like this need explanation and a through-line, not brief grizzly scenes that repeat themselves over and over again.

Brought to you by MGM Productions.
12 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Tests your reaction to noise, but not fear
Alban25 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers

First off, nothing really happened in this movie, other than a woman bleeding inexplicably. Second, it wasn't scary. Third, it had the worst soundtrack of any movie ever. Let me elaborate. The sound was edited by either Beavis or Butthead – I'm not sure which, so let's just go with Beavis. The movie gradually gets more and more quiet and the people mumble and mutter, forcing you to turn up the volume (I watched this at home). Then Beavis blasts some really loud sounds with supposedly scary/shocking images, forcing you to quickly lower the volume again. This occurs many times until, mercifully, the movie ends. I can picture Beavis laughing vulgarly from behind the two-way mirror while watching the test group franticly reaching for the remote each time. If you have children and prefer to watch scary movies after they fall asleep, this one is a big mistake. But then it's a big mistake anyway. Here's a thought – if you're going to make a horror movie, at least add a gratuitous beheading, a 19-year-old blond girl who screams at the top of her lungs just before she can take off her sweater, the shadow on the wall of someone being eaten alive just out of the camera range, a cat being thrown at the camera to scare the audience, some drifty weirdo with a maniacal laugh, or a monster who looks like a stage hand covered in aluminum foil (a la TV's Lost in Space). These people didn't even try to scare me. They just wanted to hurt my ears.
10 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A totally incoherent mess.
dustin444442 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Honestly, this is easily in the top 5 of the worst movies I have ever seen. Partly, because it takes itself so seriously, as opposed to regular light hearted trash, this movies wants you to be emotionally involved, to feel for the characters, and to care about the alleged conspiracy. None of this ever even comes close to happening.


There are 3 main reasons why this movie is so terrible: 1.) Incoherent and totally non-sensical plot. 2.) Annoying style-over-substance "MTV" camerawork. 3.) Moronic characters and plot holes.

Allow me to elaborate.

1.) Apparently, when this movies was being made, they couldn't decide whether to make a movie about church conspiracies, the stigmata, or possession. So, guess what? They combined them! An aetheist gets possessed by a dead person, who then makes her exhibit the stigmata so as to expose a church conspiracy. How a regular person is able to transcend death and possess another human being through his rosary is never explained, nor even talked about. Now, instead of just saying what he wants to say, he gives her the Stigmata. WHY? Why not just spit it out? Instead, we get treated to scenes of screaming things in harsh voices, carving cryptic messages on cars, and writing messages on walls. Apparently this priest was also a violent guy, because the possessed young lady also wigs out on one o f the characters, while talking in that cliched, harsh, "possessed" voice that we all have heard countless times. This also starts to tie into my second complaint, because whenever the young lady gets the stigmata, she also defies the laws of gravity by floating into the air, and tossing everything and everybody around her as if they were in an earthquake? Why does this happen? Who knows!?! My guess is that the director thought it looked "cool".

2.) This movies contains dozens of shots, in slow motion, of course, of birds showing up out of nowhere and flying off, and most annoyingly, of water dripping. This woman's apartment is constantly dripping water! CONSTANTLY! Logically, the place would probably fall apart with this many holes. To sum up this complaint, towards the end, and for absolutely no reason, the camera cuts to shots of water dripping, in slow motion, in reverse!! WHY!?! I have no idea! It has no relevance to anything, and once again, I'm betting it's because the director thought it looked "cool".

3.) One of the main characters says he became a priest to explain away holes in science. This doesn't make sense to me. I would think that going to church would be enough, but no, he has to go through the entire rigamarole of becoming a priest. I just don't buy it. Secondly, there are lots of plot holes, a few of which I will elaborate on below. For starters, when she first gets the stigmata, the scene ends with her laying unconscious, bleeding. Next, she's in the hospital. Who called the ambulance? Another one is towards the end, when the previously mentioned "scientific priest" character is talking to the spirit who is possessing the girl. He says, "Take me as your messenger!" Not a word for word quote, but you get the idea. His response? "You have no faith, only doubt!" So, because of this, he possesses an aetheist! An aetheist has no faith, far less then any scientific priest! And then, there's the fact that the object of this movie's conspiracy, this Lost Gospel (of St. Thomas, I believe) is available at local bookstores. The characters are willing to kill to supress this document, but you could walk down to a bookstore and buy it. Maybe this is supposed to take place in an alternate history, where it isn't wide known, but the movie never tries to tell us this, or to even hint that this is an alternate happening of that document's uncovering.

In closing, this movie is terrible to a spectacular degree. It is my arch-nemesis, which I feel the need to insult every chance I get. I loathe it. Final Grade: F
9 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Dug Its Own Grave
daveisit27 December 2000
This movie started well giving me hope, but then went downhill after the first half hour. The early potential became clouded with too many inconsistencies, as it struggled to cover its own tracks. By the end it was a laughable movie, with an ending I couldn't care less about.
11 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A pretentious movie based on untruths
newton722 June 2003
I agree with the above critique of this pretentious piece of work, adding that I have had owned a copy of the 'Gospel of Thomas' for over 40 years. It has never been recognised as authentic by the Catholic Church, nor by any other church to my knowledge, not because it contains material that would undermine the authority of established Christianity (as suggested in this movie) but because it is a gnostic text, full of inexplicable, vague passages mixed with quotations from the synoptic gospels, and its claim to be by St Thomas Didymus is in doubt. The script of the movie adds to the confusion by taking lines from the 'gospel' out of context and misquoting passages of it. As usual Hollywood sacrifices the truth and quality for sensationalism.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
DoctorSkyTower29 November 1999
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't really know what this movie was about when I went to the theater to see it (hype about the Satanism etc etc etc) as the trailers in the last movie I saw looked pretty interesting.

Oh dear, Roman Catholic mythology? Not my idea of a good scare and honestly, I just felt like watching a really good, scary movie, not some loosely plotted religious farce that tries to score cheap thrills by having some chick getting bloody every few minutes!

I'll try to keep away from the spoilers (!) but I found it very odd that an Atheist, who gets a string of rosary beads from a deceased priest, could suddenly end up with Christ's wounds (aren't stigmata supposed to be deeply religious??) I mean, she hangs out with losers, does loser stuff, behaves like a typical rebel et al, and here she is displaying the wounds of Jesus Christ?? Come on!

Scenes of her crucified, head thrown back, screaming, blood everywhere, became rather tedious after seeing it a dozen times. It was neither frightening or scary, just repulsive. It did, however, become quite painful to watch - those flicking scenes were highly annoying...

CONCLUSION: If your a Catholic, defintly don't see this. If you're not, still don't see it.
8 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
People need to appreciate this movie more.
nrazran20 March 2004
Stigmata was one of the best films i've seen in a while. I cannot understand why some people claim it is second rate horror movie. The movie is not meant to be horror. It is a story about a woman who experiences the sufferings of Christ, as a representative of a priest who discovered an ancient Gospel (which is in fact, a real gospel that has been denounced by the church as a heresy). It is true that, for people who go to movies to see explosions and knifings and curse words, this might not be a good movie. People who like to THINK at movies and perhaps even try to understand underlying or symbolic meanings should find this to be incredibly interesting. A 6.0? You have to be kidding me.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Time for red wine
KuRt-3324 February 2001
What could have been an excellent movie, unfortunately suffers from some poorly-used movie clichés (if anyone still goes from the image of blood to somebody pouring in red wine, I swear I'm gonna scream!) and - even worse - stupid mistakes. Imagine for instance that you're a priest and you have this woman with stigmata who doesn't believe in God, why don't you question there being a rosary in her house? (Or is this yet another movie cliché where the clue that might reveal all is only found when the story finds it appropriate to be discovered?)

All this is quite pitiful because 'Stigmata' had a lot of possibilities and quality in it (and not to forget a very good Patricia Arquette). What could have been an 'Exorcist' of the next generation, now comes out as an okay movie. And that's a damn shame.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Anti-Vatican movie
Supermatteo9 August 2005
This is simply a clueless, stupid and false anti-Vatican movie. The Authors just try to show plots and hidden things in the Catholic Church when everything is clear and simple (at least for persons with a bit more culture and who read some books). If they would have read more books, they would have discovered the presence of "apocryphal gospels". They have never been hidden by the Catholic Church and anyone can read them. For what concern the movie itself... there is no story, the acting is awful and completely based on stereotypes. The director is playing a lot with the cameras, moving them up and down, trying to be impressive. I had the feeling he simply didn't know what to do with them.

There is plenty of better movies than this out there. Don't waste your time!
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Holy Battle Lite
tedg8 November 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This film had some raw possibility: Matrix-like MTV pacing and a plot about suppression of the "true" gospel by the bad old Vatican.

It could have worked, even been good. but it fails on both levels. The filmmaking just isn't effective. It doesn't transport, even if you limit that to scaring. The stylishness is mimicry without a soul.

But what's worse is the miss in the story.


What we have is a priest who discovers a lost gospel that in Jesus' words recommends against a Church. The priest is killed (?) and because some woman ends up with his rosary, that priest's soul comes back to express the gospel. How stigmata figures in this is unexplained, especially since their appearance supports organized religion.

How droll. Especially when we DO have Essene scrolls that likely are closer to Jesus' teachings than Paul's sanctimony. How cool this would have been as a battle between Paul's ghost and say Peter's. What sides would spiritual forces choose? What traditions would come into play and how much magic exists in the faith of people regardless of what Jesus actually taught? This would be bigger than any old Vatican (which is dwarfed in holdings by the Mormons by the way).
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
...and to think that I'd never even heard of the stigmata before this movie came out
Lee Eisenberg1 August 2006
When "Stigmata" came out, the previews made it look like a solid horror flick, almost in the vein of "A Nightmare on Elm Street". I was quite surprised when I learned that it had a religious theme. In case you've never heard of the stigmata, they're the wounds that Jesus apparently had when he got crucified.

In the movie itself, Vatican representative Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) gets sent to the United States, where punk Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) has been experiencing the stigmata. So what is this all supposed to mean? Well, it's a little hard to determine. The movie mostly appears to be looking at Catholic Church cover-ups - and this is before "The Da Vinci Code" - but the graphic scenes of Frankie getting the stigmata sort of overshadow that. And it seems that they were really trying to be as graphic as possible with those scenes.

Another aspect is the fact that someone like Frankie is getting the stigmata. Supposedly, only Catholics can experience those marks, but Frankie is an atheist punk. Maybe that was an allusion to the spread of religion over the centuries, and how it crushed other belief systems.

All in all, I thought that the movie was worth seeing. If it has any problems, it's that - as a previous viewer noted - some characters are underdeveloped. Other than that, it's an interesting look at religion. But be warned: this movie is not for the squeamish. Also starring Jonathan Pryce, Nia Long, Rade Sherbedgia and Portia de Rossi.
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Stigmata is a bad movie
arbogast-217 September 1999
I recently saw the movie Stigmata and it was VERY BAD. It was not neither scary nor dramatic. It was not even interesting. My personal theory as to the main problem with the movie was that it took intelligent and advanced ideas about religion, theology, spirituality, and man's relationship with God and it treated these important ideas in a taudry and infantile manner. The heavily repeated imagery and MTV style editing did not mix well with the subject matter. Whats worse is that the movie is extremely boring. Also it is disjointed and there is little in the way of narrative direction. Watching Stigmata was a very bad experience and I have told all of my friends what I am now telling you... DON'T WATCH STIGMATA! If you want to go to the cinema this weekend I would recommend Stir of Echoes.
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews