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Movie Review: “The Little Hours” at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival

Photo by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

The setting for The Little Hours, by director Jeff Baena, is in a Medieval convent in a vaguely central European location, where the primary interest revolves around three nuns: Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), Ginevra (Kate Micucci) and their lives together in sisterly disfunction. Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) Marea (Molly Shannon) are the spiritual heads of the impoverished disorderly convent. Massetto (Dave Franco) appearance in the story as a deaf-mute hiding an angry Lord.  The tone of the movie is a mix between Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Judd Apatow. It’s a mix of absurdity and grit that spins this story along with pining women, lax spiritual leadership with an underbelly of dirty little secrets: lots of dirty little secrets!

Actress Aubrey Plaza and director Jeff Baena at The Little Hours LAFF Premiere.

Aubrey Plaza’s Fernanda is instigator and privateer who provide the subversive feminist narrative while Alison Brie’s Alessandra offers a more traditional desire for marriage but who’s abandoned by her family, yearning for domestic life but her father can’t manage the dowry leaving her isolated and lonely. Kate Micucci’s Ginevra awkward outsider who wishes of acceptance. John C. Reilly’s Tommasso is the mediator and convent’s flawed father figure. Molly Shannon’s Marea is a befuddled Mother Superior who pretty disassociated from the young women in a maternal way or as authority figure. Dave Franco’s Massetto is young cut pheromone and testosterone cloud of hunky male goodness that stirs the passions of the ladies to sinful results.

After establishing the primary characters the unwinding of these wacky characters lead to witchy machination, mayhem and carnality. For those with a religious background will find this movie chaffing and sacrilegious, but the raunch factors adds some surprising laughs and authentic characterizations of human foibles and the cognitive dissonance that exist within people’s in religious belief systems. Fred Armisen’s Bishop Bartolomeo offers the necessary guiding hand, after a particularly debauched night of unrestrained passions and wickedness from the young ladies leading to a repentance scene. Bishop Bartolomeo acts as scolding and restoration agent to the nuns, who restores them to chase living, while unveiling of all the those eyebrow raising dirty secrets for more comic relief. The Little Hours is a combination of snickers and belly laughs rolled up in an irreverent sassy interpretation Medieval monastic life.

Author: ninja
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