Ben Oliver

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Jesus speaks to you through your pain.
12 June 2022

A 17th century nun in Italy (Virginie Efira) has a love affair with another nun. Meanwhile, she has visions of Jesus Christ and stigmata appear on her hands; it seems like a miracle but other nuns have doubts as to whether she’s faking it.

If you are going to be provocative you might as well have a couple of nuns go at each other with a wooden dildo carved from a statue of the Virgin Mary. While it may sound like insufferable eurotrash edginess, Verhoeven’s take on this true story (with err… plenty of artistic licence) is so absurd and almost playful that I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Benedetta tells its steamy, blasphemous, juvenile story with a completely straight face and yet somehow it doesn’t beg to be taken seriously. Instead of trying to emulate restrained masterworks like Carol and Portrait of a Lady on Fire Verhoeven does what he knows best—it’s tits out and away we go.