Paul Verhoeven directs Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling and Daphne Patakia in this period nunsploitation movie where, in 17th century Tuscany, a good girl nun starts receiving visions of Christ just as plague, comets and a hot new cell mate turn up in her town.
Exactly what you’d instantly expect from Verhoeven if you heard he was going to direct the true story of a lesbian nun making a power play. That predictability is a little disappointing, all the shock seems quite wholesome in context. It is very well acted and handsomely shot. More prestige than cheap exploitation, more playful than transgressive. Benedetta shares a lot of plot and character DNA with Showgirls but where that was bruisingly lurid and camp, this feels quite accessible. Wimples replace rhinestones, critics can feel vindicated. Yet it isn’t quite the bad taste treat I personally craved.
Perfect Double Bill: The Devils (1971)
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