The Little Hours
|The Little Hours|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jeff Baena|
|Screenplay by||Jeff Baena|
|Based on||The Decameron|
by Giovanni Boccaccio
|Music by||Dan Romer|
|Edited by||Ryan Brown|
|Distributed by||Gunpowder & Sky|
|Box office||$1.6 million|
The Little Hours is a 2017 American medieval comedy film written and directed by Jeff Baena. The film is loosely based on the first and second stories of the third day of The Decameron, a collection of novellas by Giovanni Boccaccio. It stars an ensemble cast featuring Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, and Molly Shannon.
Set in medieval times, the film is told in an anachronistic style, with contemporary dialogue and behavior. The plot jointly follows the lives of three nuns at a convent located in the countryside who encounter a young gardener posing as a deaf-mute. The film held its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2017 and was released on June 30, 2017, by Gunpowder & Sky. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the cast's performances.
In the year 1347 in Garfagnana, a convent of nuns is led by Father Tommasso. The nuns include Alessandra, who wants a better life for herself and is held at the convent due to her father's support of the church rather than her own bidding; Ginevra, a gossip who is later revealed to be a lesbian and Jewish; and Fernanda, an emotionally unstable and violent woman. The three of them routinely assault the gardener, who quits in disgust. Meanwhile in Lunigiana, a young servant named Massetto gets caught having sexual relations with his master's wife. While on the run, he discovers Father Tommasso, who has gone to sell some embroidery but has instead gotten drunk and lost his possessions in the river. Massetto helps him get back home. The two arrange to have Massetto work as a gardener while pretending to be a deaf-mute, in hopes that this will dissuade the nuns from giving him trouble.
Fernanda’s friend Marta appears and encourages Alessandra and Ginevra to get drunk off the sacramental wine while explaining how being with a man is the greatest possible pleasure. Fernanda takes Ginevra back to her room where they have sex. Massetto and Alessandra begin to form a closer bond while Ginevra begins to have feelings for Fernanda.
Later, Fernanda kidnaps Massetto at knife-point and takes him into the forest, where she meets up with a coven of witches. She attempts to perform a fertility ritual with Massetto but is stopped by the arrival of Alessandra and Ginevra. Ginevra, under the hallucinogenic effects of belladonna, takes off her clothes and begins dancing and steals the convent's donkey. Massetto reveals that he is not a deaf-mute while trying to free himself. They return to the convent, and all of their secrets are revealed in the presence of the visiting Bishop Bartolomeo. Father Tommasso is sent away to become a monk after it is discovered that he and the Mother Superior are in love and have a secret relationship. Massetto is returned to his master and is held in a jail cell with the impending threat of torture and death until the three nuns (who have reconciled and formed an even stronger friendship) help him escape. While Alessandra, Massetto, Ginevra, and Fernanda each run hand-in-hand back to the convent, the Mother Superior and Father Tommasso have met up in secret under the pretense that the Mother Superior has gone to retrieve the donkey. They hide as the nuns and Massetto run by. Fernanda stops and stares in puzzlement at the once again freed donkey that she herself used as an excuse so many times to escape the convent, until Ginevra pulls her away. With the group gone, Father Tommasso and Mother Superior embrace and smile at each other.
- Alison Brie as Sister Alessandra
- Dave Franco as Massetto
- Kate Micucci as Sister Ginevra
- Aubrey Plaza as Sister Fernanda
- John C. Reilly as Father Tommasso
- Molly Shannon as Mother Marea
- Fred Armisen as Bishop Bartolomeo
- Jemima Kirke as Marta
- Nick Offerman as Lord Bruno
- Lauren Weedman as Francesca
- Adam Pally as Guard Paolo
- Jon Gabrus as Guard Gregorio
- Paul Reiser as Ilario
- Paul Weitz as Lurco
In April 2016, it was revealed that Jeff Baena had written and directed a film starring Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Jon Gabrus, Jemima Kirke, Nick Offerman, Adam Pally, Paul Reiser, Lauren Weedman, and Paul Weitz. It was also revealed that Liz Destro of Destro Films, would be producing the film, with StarStream Media and Bow and Arrow Entertainment executive producing alongside Productivity Media; also Exhibit Entertainment and Foton Pictures are executive producing. Dan Romer composed the film's score. The screenplay is based on the first and second tales of the third day in The Decameron, a collection of novellas by Giovanni Boccaccio; however, the dialogue of the actors was improvised. The sets were accurate to the medieval period, but the behavior and language are contemporary. Filming locations included towns in the Tuscan province of Lucca: Castiglione di Garfagnana, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Pieve Fosciana, and Camporgiana. The castle scene was filmed in Fosdinovo, Province of Massa Carrara.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2017. Shortly after, Gunpowder & Sky acquired distribution rights to the film. It was released on June 30, 2017.
The Little Hours has grossed a total of $1,647,175. The film opened in two theaters on its opening weekend and grossed $61,560.
The Little Hours received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 79% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 105 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "The Little Hours gets plenty of goofy mileage out of its gifted ensemble, anchoring its ribald laughs in a period comedy with some surprisingly timely subtext." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 69 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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- filmmusicreporter (December 29, 2016). "Dan Romer Scoring Jeff Baena's 'The Little Hours' & 'Chasing Coral'". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- Disc bonus interview with Kate Micucci
- O'Malley, Sheila (June 30, 2017). "The Little Hours". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
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- "The Little Hours". Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 26, 2017). "Gunpowder & Sky Acquires Sundance Pic 'The Little Hours'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Calvario, Liz (March 29, 2017). "Gunpowder & Sky Sets Release Date For Sundance Film 'The Little Hours'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
- "The Little Hours (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- "The Little Hours Reviews". Metacritic. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 24, 2017.