6.2/10
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400 user 144 critic

Stigmata (1999)

When a young woman becomes afflicted by stigmata, a priest is sent to investigate her case, which may have severe ramifications for his faith and for the Catholic Church itself.

Director:

Rupert Wainwright

Writers:

Tom Lazarus (story), Tom Lazarus (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Arquette ... Frankie Paige
Gabriel Byrne ... Father Andrew Kiernan
Jonathan Pryce ... Cardinal Daniel Houseman
Nia Long ... Donna Chadway
Thomas Kopache ... Father Durning
Rade Serbedzija ... Marion Petrocelli (as Rade Sherbedgia)
Enrico Colantoni ... Father Dario
Dick Latessa ... Father Gianni Delmonico
Portia de Rossi ... Jennifer Kelliho
Patrick Muldoon ... Steven
Ann Cusack ... Dr. Reston
Shaun Toub ... Doctor
Tom Hodges Tom Hodges ... ER Nurse
Lydia Hazan Lydia Hazan ... Attending Nurse
Shaun Duke ... Dr. Eckworth (as Duke Moosekian)
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Storyline

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 <jmell@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You don't have to believe...to suffer See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense violent sequences, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [United States]

Country:

USA

Release Date:

10 September 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Toby's Story See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,309,666, 12 September 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$50,046,268

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$89,446,268
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The subway scene was shot on a fake train carriageway - the same one used sometimes in Seinfeld. See more »

Goofs

The Cardinal is shown wearing a goatee - this is not allowed for Curial members, especially those living in the Vatican. See more »

Quotes

Frankie: I feel like my heart is breaking.
[sobs]
Frankie: Why am I so sad?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Festival in Cannes (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

All Is Full of Love
Written by Björk (as Bjork Gudmundsdottir)
Performed by Björk
Courtesy of One Little Indian Records / Elektra Entertainment Group / Mother Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A clever blend of Christian mysticism and 20th Century narcissistic cynicism
10 September 1999 | by jester-30See all my reviews

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.


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