Saint Maud

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Saint Maud
Saint Maud poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRose Glass
Produced by
  • Andrea Cornwell
  • Oliver Kassman
Written byRose Glass
Starring
Music byAdam Janota Bzowski
CinematographyBen Fordesman
Edited byMark Towns
Production
companies
Distributed byStudioCanal
Release date
  • 8 September 2019 (2019-09-08) (TIFF)
  • 9 October 2020 (2020-10-09) (United Kingdom)
Running time
84 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1.4 million[1]

Saint Maud is a 2019 British psychological horror film written and directed by Rose Glass in her feature directorial debut. The story follows hospice nurse Maud (portrayed by Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care (Jennifer Ehle), believing she must save her soul.

Saint Maud had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September 2019, and was released in the United Kingdom on 9 October 2020 by StudioCanal UK. The film received acclaim from critics, who praised the direction, atmosphere, performances, and score.

Plot[edit]

A nurse named Katie fails to save the life of a patient in her care, despite attempting CPR.

Some time later, Katie, now referring to herself as Maud, has become a devout Roman Catholic and is working as a private palliative care nurse in an English seaside town. She is assigned to care for Amanda, a dancer and choreographer from the U.S. who is terminally ill with stage four lymphoma. Amanda is embittered by her fate and confesses to Maud that she fears the oblivion of death. Maud comes to believe that God has tasked her with saving the atheist Amanda's soul. Maud reveals to Amanda that she sometimes feels God's presence and she and Amanda appear to be overcome with ecstasy as they pray together.

Maud becomes suspicious of Amanda's companion Carol, who visits regularly and whom Amanda pays for sex. She implores Carol to stop visiting as she believes Amanda's soul is in jeopardy. Carol attends Amanda's birthday party anyway and in front of Maud, Amanda informs the partygoers that Maud tried to drive Carol away. She mocks the young nurse for trying to save her soul. Maud strikes Amanda and is dismissed from her job.

Believing that God has rejected her, Maud visits a pub to find companionship but is rejected by most of the people she meets. She goes home with a man and during sex, suffers flashbacks of the death of her patient and her attempts at CPR, which causes her to stop. The man rapes her and then taunts her by revealing he remembers her hooking up with a friend of his during her hedonistic past.

While out walking, she encounters Amanda's new nurse and storms off when she realizes that her replacement enjoys a good relationship with Amanda. In her decrepit apartment, Maud begs for a sign from God who appears to tell her to be ready for an act that will demonstrate her faith. Maud interprets a rolling cloud formation as a sign from God.

That night, Maud, dressed in a makeshift robe and wearing rosary beads, enters Amanda's house after the care nurse leaves. She finds Amanda in bed, weakened. Amanda asks forgiveness for mocking her faith and Maud joyously reminds her of the time they experienced God's presence. Amanda reveals that she feigned the experience and that God is not real. Maud recoils in horror as a now-demonic Amanda hurls her across the room and mocks her for needing to prove her faith. In a delirious frenzy, Maud stabs Amanda to death.

In the morning, Maud is briefly seen with angel wings. She wanders onto a beach and douses herself with acetone before horrified onlookers. She utters her last words in Welsh — "Glory to God" — as she self-immolates. In her last moments, the onlookers kneel in awe as Maud looks up to the sky with grace. The scene then reverts to reality, revealing a burning Maud screaming in agony.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was developed by Escape Plan Productions with funding from Film4. In November 2018, it was announced Clark and Ehle had joined the cast of the film, with Glass directing from her own screenplay.[2] The film was fully financed by Film4 Productions and the British Film Institute.

Release[edit]

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September 2019.[3][4] Shortly after, A24 and StudioCanal acquired U.S. and U.K. distribution rights to the film.[5][6] It also screened at Fantastic Fest on 19 September 2019,[7] and the BFI London Film Festival on 5 October 2019.[8] The film went on to receive a Special Commendation in the Official Competition section of the London Film Festival, with the jury president, Wash Westmoreland, saying, "This dazzling directorial debut marks the emergence of a powerful new voice in British cinema."[9]

It was scheduled to be released in the United States on 10 April 2020,[10] and the United Kingdom on 1 May 2020.[11] However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release was postponed in the United States until 17 July 2020, and was later pulled entirely from the schedule.[12][13][14][15] It was released theatrically in the United Kingdom on 9 October 2020 to positive reviews, and was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on 1 February 2021.[16][17] It was released as a limited release in the United States on 29 January 2021, followed by video on demand and Epix on 12 February 2021.[18]

Reception[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 171 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "A brilliantly unsettling blend of body horror and psychological thriller, Saint Maud marks an impressive debut for writer-director Rose Glass."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[20]

Director Danny Boyle described Saint Maud as "a genuinely unsettling and intriguing film. Striking, affecting and mordantly funny at times, its confidence evokes the ecstasy of films like Carrie, The Exorcist, and Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin."[21] Katie Rife of The A.V. Club gave the film a grade of "B+", saying that the finale was shocking.[22]

Film critic Mark Kermode listed it as his favourite film of 2020, calling it an "electrifying debut".[23]

Awards[edit]

Award Category Recipients Result
British Academy Film Awards Outstanding British Film Rose Glass, Andrea Cornwell and Oliver Kassman Nominated
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer Rose Glass and Andrea Cornwell Nominated
British Independent Film Awards Best British Independent Film Rose Glass, Andrea Cornwell and Oliver Kassman Nominated
Best Director Rose Glass Nominated
Best Actress Morfydd Clark Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Jennifer Ehle Nominated
Best Screenplay Rose Glass Nominated
Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) Rose Glass Won
Best Debut Screenwriter Rose Glass Nominated
Breakthrough Producer Oliver Kassman Nominated
Best Casting Kharmel Cochrane Nominated
Best Cinematography Ben Fordesman Won
Best Costume Design Tina Kalivas Nominated
Best Editing Mark Towns Nominated
Best Effects Scott Macintyre, Baris Kareli and Kristyan Mallett Nominated
Best Make Up & Hair Design Jacquetta Levon Nominated
Best Music Adam Janota Bzowski Nominated
Best Production Design Paulina Rzeszowska Nominated
Best Sound Paul Davies Nominated
London Film Critics Circle Awards Film of the Year Saint Maud Nominated
Director of the Year Rose Glass Nominated
Actress of the Year Morfydd Clark Nominated
Supporting Actress of the Year Jennifer Ehle Nominated
Screenwriter of the Year Rose Glass Nominated
British/Irish Film of the Year Saint Maud Won
British/Irish Actress of the Year Morfydd Clark Won
Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year Rose Glass Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Saint Maud". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Rose Glass' Saint Maud starring Morfydd Clark & Jennifer Ehle starts shooting". Channel 4. 19 November 2018. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Saint Maud". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 27 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  4. ^ Erbland, Kate (8 August 2019). "TIFF 2019 Announces Docs and Midnight Madness Slates, With Films From Alex Gibney and Takashi Miike". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 9 August 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  5. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (16 September 2019). "A24 Picks Up TIFF Midnight Madness Pic 'Saint Maud'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 20 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  6. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (20 September 2019). "Toronto Hit 'Saint Maud' Closes UK & France Deals For Protagonist". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 20 September 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Saint Maud". Fantastic Fest. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Saint Maud". BFI London Film Festival. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Monos, Atlantics and White Riot among prize winners at LFF 2019". What's Worth Seeing. 12 October 2019. Archived from the original on 13 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  10. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (17 December 2019). "'Saint Maud' Trailer: A24's Latest Horror Evokes 'The Exorcist,' 'Carrie,' and 'Under the Skin'". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 17 December 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Saint Maud". Launching Films. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  12. ^ Waddington, Liam (26 March 2020). "A24's new horror film Saint Maud has been pulled from April release". Flickering Myth.
  13. ^ "A24's SAINT MAUD moves away from an April 10 wide release...and now rattles its chains on the dreaded date". Twitter. 24 March 2020. Archived from the original on 24 March 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  14. ^ Miska, Brad (16 June 2020). "MOVIESRejoice! A24's 'Saint Maud' Brings Horror Back to Theaters on July 17th". Bloody-Disgusting.com. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Saint Maud". A24. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Search Past, Present and Future Releases (October 2020)". Film Distributors' Association. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  17. ^ Squires, John (2 December 2020). "A24's 'Saint Maud' is Coming to UK DVD and Blu-ray in February 2021; Still No US Release Date". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (12 January 2021). "As 'Saint Maud' Builds Awards Season Heat, A24 Pic Will Hit Theaters At End Of Month & Scores Big Epix Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Saint Maud (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Saint Maud Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  21. ^ "Saint Maud Director Rose Glass wins £50,000 film bursary". What's Worth Seeing. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  22. ^ Rife, Katie (2 October 2019). "Celebrated Auteurs, Freddy Krueger Drag, and Exploding Eyeballs: The Best of Fantastic Fest 2019". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  23. ^ Kermode, Mark (26 December 2020). "Film: Mark Kermode's 10 best of 2020". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2021.

External links[edit]