An F.B.I. Agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.
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>
When Father Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) comes in the Vatican office to get his new assignment, we can hear a bit of Italian speaking in the back between Cardinal Daniel Houseman (Jonathan Pryce) and another priest. Translation: "Rest assured, none of this will ever leave this room." See more »
The same 1977-81 Pontiac Firebird is seen three times. It
shows up two times in the same scene. Frankie is almost hit by the car in the baby scene. She climbs over the hood in the crown of thorns scene and a moment later it drives past as she runs down the street. See more »
Hey, you know what's scarier than not believing in God? Believing in him. I mean, really believing in him. It's a fucking terrifying thought.
See more »
The DVD features an optional director's alternate ending from the theatrical version. In the scene near the end after Frankie (Patricia Arquette) is freed from her affliction, Father Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) carries her outside in his arms and sits at a bench, and we see her collapse in his arms. He looks up to see her holding a bird in her hand, then she walks away. After she apparently walks away, he looks back down to see her lifeless body still in his arms -- she actually died from the fifth stigmata and he watched her soul depart. In the theatrical version, after she walks away with the bird, Father Kiernan is left alone on the bench, and the impression is that she's "cured" and lives the rest of her life naturally. See more »
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.
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