The Innocents

A new review from The Movie Snob.

The Innocents  (A-).  This French-Polish co-production, which is based on true events, packs a powerful punch.  It’s December 1945.  A young nun sneaks out of a little Catholic convent in the Polish countryside and hurries to the nearest town, desperately seeking a doctor–and one, she insists, who is neither Polish nor Russian.  Against all odds, she finds a young French doctor named Mathilde who is willing to leave her Red Cross station and visit the convent.  Mathilde is shocked at what she finds there: seven pregnant nuns.  When the Soviet Army “liberated” Poland several months earlier, the marauding soldiers invaded the convent and raped the nuns.  Now, the nuns who conceived are reaching full term.  And no one outside the convent can know, or else the the convent will be shuttered and the women shunned in society as disgraced.  It’s a horrible situation, and still more horrible things happen as Mathilde tries to help the nuns in their hour of crisis.  There are a few happy moments, and Mathilde strikes up an unlikely friendship with Maria, the second-in-command at the convent, but the movie is largely bleak and upsetting.  Still, I found it a compelling cinematic experience.  But please do exercise discretion in deciding whether to see this movie, especially if scenes depicting sexual assault are triggering for you.

If you like this movie, I encourage you to look up Ida, a Polish movie from a couple of years ago, focusing on a single Polish nun discovering some family secrets going back to WWII.  Also, A Woman in Berlin, another based-on-a-true-story movie, about the fall of Berlin at the end of WWII and the fate of the ordinary Germans who lived there when the Soviets arrived.

The Girl From Monaco

New review by The Movie Snob

The Girl From Monaco (C). In this French import, Bertrand Beauvois (Fabrice Luchini, Molière) is a highly successful criminal defense attorney on the far side of 50. He is a very thoughtful and articulate fellow of unremarkable appearance. He goes to Monaco to defend a woman accused of a lurid crime–the murder of her much younger lover, a Russian who may have had mob ties. Consequently, the woman’s son hires a bodyguard for Bertrand, and this bodyguard, Christophe, is a big dangerous fellow who says little and thinks . . . well, it’s hard to know what he thinks, but he does a good job of looking after Bertrand. Anyway, careful and prudent Bertrand meets Audrey (Louise Bourgoin, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec), a sexy local TV weathergirl maybe half his age, and perhaps to his surprise they start to have a torrid affair. Audrey is not only outrageously attractive but also utterly unhampered by inhibitions, and Bertrand’s ability to defend the murder case is soon in danger of being compromised. And did I mention that Christophe is one of Audrey’s undoubtedly numerous ex-boyfriends? It’s not really a comedy and not quite a thriller, and the ending didn’t really do it for me. But it’s interesting enough, I guess, and the lithe Audrey is certainly easy on the eyes.