Consider the following review a "bookmark" of sorts. In part protest/part not wanting to pay a whole bunch per month, I have gotten rid of Crave and therefore HBO Max. My reasoning; the WB titles streaming on HBO Max as well as theaters are only available in America, thus we Canucks kind of just get screwed. It's irritating to me that WB has what I think is a great idea, but they aren't making it available elsewhere. Last I checked, our theaters were closed as well, so this means missing out on a lot of cool up-and-coming material.
In fairness, the odd rental still might pop up here and there, like 'Wonder Woman '84' did. On a personal level, I'm okay with renting as long as the cost is relatively fair to my wallet ($20 for 'Onward' as opposed to $30 for 'Mulan'). For the time being, however, a lot of these "Now Playing" titles may be either late to the party (perhaps being released in Canada later than the US, like the last 'Spongebob' flick) or quite "Under the Radar" (as many of these have been lately). So, instead of reviewing the Oscar-Buzzing Frances McDormand movie that is 'Nomadland' this week, instead, it's movie that you've probably never heard of until now. But hey, it's "available"!
Diving right in, after some time passes from a tragic incident involving a nurse named Katie and her patient, she becomes a devout Roman Catholic, and starts referring to herself as Maud. She now works as a palliative care nurse somewhere in England, and her next assignment is to Amanda; a minor celebrity in the world of dance choreography. Terminally ill with stage four lymphoma, she confesses her fears of death to Maud, who confesses back that she often feels God's response to her prayers. We see this as Maud responding to things in an almost orgasmic fashion.
As time passes, Amanda is visited by Carol, who acts as a sex worker for her. As a result of this and Maud's devout faith to God, Maud becomes obsessive with the protection of Amanda, and wants nothing more than to save her soul from eternal damnation. Soon enough, the obsession turns sour and, through a series of events, Maud eventually has to question who it is that really needs saving; Amanda or herself. If the opening scene involving Katie/Maud locked up in an asylum is any indication, we certainly know that nothing will end up in Katie/Maud's favor, but it's mildly interesting to watch the events that unfold that got her there... very mildly. Just by reading the review here, your probable thoughts on the film being a little too religiously heavy are 100% accurate.
All in all, it's your standard, run of the mill, supernatural, psychological religious thriller. It doesn't have a lot of the typical imagery, and a lot more of is is psychological than physically supernatural. The film gets you trapped in Maud's life and personal thoughts, all the while delivering some pretty uncomfortable imagery, but nothing so over the top as to truly call this "horror". I'd probably just say it's more uncomfortable than anything, and it really doesn't feel like it has much more of a point than Maud's confusion on what's really right and wrong - again, speaking in the biblical sense more than anything. It seems to combine the issues of mental health with religion, and that's always an iffy area for me as it is.
So, as I expected, there's nothing particularly special here, and I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone in particular. It's not scary, it's not horrifically fun in any way, and it's just too heavy-handed with its religious aspect. I suppose it works out as a sort of hidden gem for some (considering its praise on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 81%), but this is just one of those cases where if you told me I "just didn't get it", you'd probably be right. I guess it's ot without its moments of discomfort, and therefore doing its job, but I can tell that this will be a "forgotten title" for yours truly when 2021 comes to an end.
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