On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, my recently-retired wife and I (who had been retired for a long while) decided to take in a weekly movie. We had the time, we could stand to leave the house, and we were "seniors" who get bargains at movie theaters. We chose Tuesday because we know many theaters have bargains on that day, not realizing the price for seniors is pretty much the same every day. We take turns choosing the movie, and my wife went first, which is why on that long-ago Tuesday, we saw John Wick 3. We chose the name "Geezer Cinema" for our weekly outings.
Writing about that first geezer, I said, "Who knows how long it will last". Well, I often say if you do something once, it's an event, but if you do it twice, it's a tradition. On the next Tuesday, I chose Booksmart, and a tradition was begun. In early March of last year, we saw Emma., which turned out to be our last trip to a theater for a long time. It seemed the pandemic would put an end to Geezer Cinema, but nope ... the next week, my wife chose to re-watch Contagion, for obvious reasons, and Geezer Cinema continued in its new, stay-at-home mode. We returned to the theater a few weeks ago to watch A Quiet Place Part II, and while we haven't been back to the theater since, it's only a matter of time.
Saint Maud marks the 100th film in the Geezer Cinema saga. I chose it because ... oh, who knows why I pick movies, it was a critical favorite (Metascore: 83), and was directed by Rose Glass, making her feature debut. No less an expert than Bong Joon Ho chose Glass as one of the "upcoming directors for the 2020s". The only cast member I recognized was Jennifer Ehle (her second Geezer appearance ... she was also in Contagion). I hoped for the best, even though my previous Geezer pick, Midsommar (also directed by one of Bong's up-and-comers), wasn't to my liking.
So, shut up and tell us about Saint Maud. It stars Morfydd Clark, who has only been in feature films since 2014, as the titular character, a private care nurse who has recently become a hardcore Roman Catholic. Glass, who also wrote the film, does an excellent job taking Saint Maud from horror to religious movie and back again ... sometimes they stand alone, sometimes they blend together, but Glass has a firm hand throughout. We are never confused in an arbitrary manner. At times, we experience the confusion of Maud, or the confusion of those around her, but we always know where we are.
Clark is a wonder. She looks like a bland young lady, but she lets us see the fanatic behind the mask, a fanatic that over the course of the film emerges for us to see more clearly. For a while, it seems like Glass is giving us a religious take on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, but that goes away as we realize what we are watching is the existential traumas of one individual. Ultimately, Saint Maud is less a horror story, or even a religious movie, than it is a character study of a lonely woman whose need to communicate with God leads down a dark path. Oddly, it's almost like Taxi Driver, or rather, Maud is like Travis Bickle. Already #725 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century.