Movie Diary 8/16/2021

Saint Maud (Rose Glass, 2019). This movie has nun hysteria, saint-related mortification, and highly unusual UK location work. How did it take me this long to watch it? Morfydd Clark – in a stunning match of actress and character – plays Maud, a young acolyte, serving as a home nurse to a terminally ill woman (Jennifer Ehle). Maud speaks to God (in Welsh) and believes she has been sent to convert her patient to the Lord. There is, perhaps, nothing blazingly new about any of it, more of a well-executed exercise, but Glass has a strong eye, and her work with the actors is uniformly fine. There’s one scene in the late going, with a minor character visiting Maud’s spartan apartment, where you find yourself tensing up in the knowledge that this person may not get out alive, and in its own intimate way it’s as suspenseful as the Manson ranch sequence in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. And the final 15 minutes has hair-curling moments that qualify the film as an sterling example of the modern horror movie without violating the likelihood that everything is happening in one crackpot’s head.