Tag Archives: Andrew Lobel

Our Lady of Fury


by Hope Madden

Does Immaculate benefit from low expectations? Maybe, but I’ll tell you what, I did not hate this movie.

First of all, it looks great—and not just because it stars Sydney Sweeney. Sweeney plays Sister Cecilia, a Michigander transplanted to rural Italy in time to take her vows to become a nun. Her Italian is not very strong, and she sometimes feels like she’s being left out of conversations intentionally, but she takes her vows anyway: poverty, chastity, obedience.

For a lot of people, those first two seem like the tough ones. Nope. It’s the last one you have to avoid. (Note for the uninitiated, priests do not have to take a vow of obedience. And I don’t just mean in this movie.)

Anyway, miracle of miracles, Sister Cecilia finds herself pregnant.

Immaculate is not the first film to tread such unholy ground. Agnes of God, The Innocents, Deliver Us­—it’s actually a pretty long list. And sexy nuns, well that list is even longer and more sordid. Though Michael Mohan’s film certainly falls into the sexy nun trap (because it is, in fact, possible to hire women between the ages of 19 and 45 who are just ordinary looking), it’s rather surprising all he gets right.

The science gets dumb, but the self-righteous torture, that is spot on.

Working from a script by Andrew Lobel, Mohan mines the desperate helplessness of Rosemary’s Baby. And Sweeney does a fine job of swimming the murky waters of faith, innocence, and the wisdom born of innocence lost.

What’s most stunning is how well two male filmmakers channel female rage. And I don’t just mean the rage of having to sit through beautiful, nubile virgins bathing together in soaking wet white nighties. That too, but also the good kind of female rage.

Immaculate digs into the way organized religion constrains, punishes, silences, bullies, vilifies and oppresses women and then unleashes glorious fury. Fearless, cathartic, bloody, beautifully sacrilegious fury.