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A beautiful throwback to 70s religious horror

An isolated convent, a young nun former isolated by language barriers, flowing shifts and white sheets, and a brutal picture of patriarchy and the absence of reproductive rights: #Immaculate is a gothic joy.

@sydney_sweeney, who apparently spent ten years dedicated to seeing this project through, excels as Sister Cecelia, a novice from Michigan who travels to Italy to take her vows. There is power and affective honesty in Sweeney’s acting, and from quiet grief to utter rage, she carries the story from first sight to last. She’s particularly powerful and radiant in the film’s conclusion, which offers a wonderful surprise in an otherwise predictable reimagining of Rosemary’s Baby. Those final moments are the best of the film.

The rest of the cast feels like set-dressing: no one is truly spectacular, and, as Dr. S lamented, the villain broadcasts so loudly that his actions carry no surprise. Still, the examination of the reduction of women to reproductive function, loss of autonomy, and lack of rights in religiously-do used communities is an important subject to voice.

As much as I enjoyed the film overall, and I did, there’s one feature that stands out for me: the textiles. Oh, the textiles! What crisp lines! What perfect tailoring and pressing! What engrossing weave! From habits to nightgowns to sheets, the fabrics of the film have my whole heart.

And the focus on the running, bloody hemline? Perfect. Excellent costuming, excellent set design, gorgeous cinematography.

Nothing new, but done very well. Definitely worth seeing.

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