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  • Gareth Crook

Saint Maud (2019) - 9/10

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

People look to religion when they’re lost. Maud (Morfydd Clark) is lost. She’s not even Maud. She’s a carer looking after Amanda (Jennifer Ehle) who has lymphoma. Both women have a past. Amanda’s as a successful dancer. Maud... well that’s the arc of this story. A trauma has lead Maud to God. She’s desperate for guidance, for purpose. Something she thinks Amanda needs too in her large seaside house full of faded creative decadence. It’s not a welcomed intervention though and Maud is spurned, sending her spiralling to a dark dangerous place. Clarks performance is electric. Her near euphoric spiritual rapture and psychotic obsession writ large on screen, with clipped narration as she talks to God and in turn to us. This is Maud’s voice, as she sees things. What’s hidden though from both her in denial and to us are events that make her dangerous, both to herself and to Amanda. This is exactly the kind of horror I love. Claustrophobic and tense, with a rock solid backbone that sends shivers down your own. It’s the sort of film that makes you squirm. Menacing. If not relatable, recognisable. Astonishing really. These actors are all new to me and no one drops the ball. This is writer director Rose Glass’ debut feature too and the sound, oh my god the sound! Keep an ear out for Adam Janota Bzowski, his compositions here are like an nightmare inducing embrace, especially as Maud (I’ll keep up the pretence of the name) unravels and we get a sense of what’s lurking in her past. Too much time can be dangerous. A sponge, soaking up venomous religious texts, feeding her compulsion. Maud see’s her calling. It’s a blistering piece of cinema and although it does have a couple of weak moments, by enlarge it’s magnificent. With a worthy finale and surely what’s to become a revered character in Maud and celebrated one with Rose Glass. “Never waste your pain”



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