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 we see inserts of the crucifixion, while Frankie as her first attack of stigmata, the arms being nailed are rubber arms with wires that make the fingers slightly move. See more »
Father Andrew Kiernan states that monks invented alcohol. Even if one grants Kiernan the benefit of the doubt and assumes that he is referring exclusively to alcoholic beverages, he is still wrong. The ancient Egyptians were drinking beer back in 3000 B.C.E., if not before. See more »
The DVD release offers several scenes that were edited, reshot, or removed altogether after poor test screenings. Glimpses of several of these scenes can be seen in the movie's original theatrical trailer (also included on the DVD):
An alternate opening where Father Almeida commits suicide by jumping off of the roof of his church. In the final cut, there is no indication as to how he died.
A longer, much more explicit version of Frankie and her boyfriend Steve fooling around during the opening credits.
Before Frankie's first stimagtic attack, she experiences a series of strange occurances while closing her hair salon.
Also, before Frankie's first stigmatic attack, she comes home and is scared by her boyfriend Steve. The two have an argument.
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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