A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Saint Maud is an enthralling, but unsettling, British psychological drama with themes of horror, religion, mental illness, and loneliness. There is extreme violence, jump-scares, and scenes of an upsetting nature. Maud (Morfydd Clark) is a socially awkward nurse, who having recently found God, believes it's her calling to save the soul of her patient, Amanda (Jennifer Ehle). The violence and scares are a mixture of real and what Maud perceives to be real. These include flashbacks involving bloody corpses, the voice of God and the Devil, distorted visions, and self-harm. A violent confrontation between two characters results in a pair of scissors being stabbed into someone's neck. A character also douses themselves in flammable liquid before setting themselves on fire. Amanda has a terminal illness, but despite this, she smokes constantly and drinks to excess. Maud is disapproving of Amanda's lifestyle -- which includes casual sex with a woman whom she gives money to -- and gradually tries to put a stop to it. Maud too has her own sexual experiences. During a night out alone, she ends up masturbating a stranger in the corner of a pub, and then goes to anther man's house where she has sex with him. During this encounter, after experiencing a violent hallucination, Maud asks him to stop, but he carries on regardless. Maud also seemingly experiences some kind of sexual gratification when she feels the presence of God inside her. Strong language is intermittent, but does include variants of "f--k," as well as one use of "c--t."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Is it any good?
A deeply unsettling, yet superb first feature film from director and writer Rose Glass, this psychological horror is far more than just jump-scares -- though there are plenty of those too. At the heart of Saint Maud is loneliness and how it can manifest. Maud is a deeply lonely character, whose need for redemption and a desire to belong, all contribute to form a dangerous cocktail with devastating consequences. Maud, played by the excellent Clark, is desperate for a sense of purpose, and by doing "God's work" -- in this case saving the soul of Amanda, played by the equally brilliant Ehle -- she has found that purpose. Yet it's not Amanda who needs saving. It's Maud, from herself.
Maud is seemingly suffering from some kind of mental illness. But it's to Glass' credit that she doesn't demonize or stigmatize her central character. Indeed there's even a degree of empathy felt toward Maud, despite her misguided intentions. In one scene, a dressed-up Maud heads to the pub, alone, seemingly intent on striking up any kind of normal human interaction. But her social awkwardness result in a sadness felt both by her and the audience. Saint Maud is an exceptional piece of filmmaking that unsettles, shocks, and raises questions about faith, loneliness, and a need to have a purpose. All within a modest 84 minute runtime.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Saint Maud. Did the blood and gore seem over the top? Did the violent scenes help tell the story in an effective way? Was it shocking or thrilling? Why? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
Did you find the movie scary? If so, in what way? What's the appeal of scary movies?
How does the movie portray sex? Is it affectionate? Respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Discuss the character of Maud. Is she a sympathetic character? Why do you think she acted the way she did? What could have been done to help her?
Talk about how religion is portrayed in the movie. Is it a positive or negative portrayal?
- In theaters: January 29, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: February 12, 2021
- Cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight
- Director: Rose Glass
- Studio: A24
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing and violent content, sexual content and language
- Last updated: January 26, 2021
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