saint maud 2021 movie

Saint Maud (2021) – Movie Review and Analysis

Saint Maud, released in 2021, is a movie about loneliness, spirituality, and the desire to find purpose in life and later. Let us explain it.

Summary of the post

The following summary includes the list of the topics we will cover in our post related to “Saint Maud”


Saint Maud – Introduction

Released in 2019, while in streaming in February 2021, Saint Maud is a British movie that belongs to drama, thriller, and mental health categories. It lasts for one hour and 24 minutes, and those are intense, disturbing, inspiring and, in our opinion, a must-watch.

We can add more flavours mentioning that Saint Maud won already ten awards and twenty-eight nominations. Among those awards, it got a BAFTA as “Outstanding British Film of the Year” and “Best Actress” to the protagonist of the story Morfydd Clark (Maud). 

It’s a low budget movie that becomes an excellent film thanks to the incredible skills of the author and director, Rose Glass, and the sensational talent of Morfydd Clark. What matters to us is that Saint Maud proves that cinematography, good directing and acting, are the keys to a fantastic movie.

In the end, it’s not only the story that makes the difference but how the whole cast delivers it to us. Like we already seen with Joji and Mimi, for example. That’s the art of cinema. So let us guide you through the story.


Saint Maud – Details

Release DateFebruary 2021 in the U.S.A.
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreDramaMental Health Religion Thriller
Duration1 hour and 42 minutes
DirectorRose Glass
ActorsMorfydd Clark (Maud) – Jennifer Ehle (Amanda) – Lily Frazer (Carol)

Saint Maud – The Story

Maud is a nurse who brings with her a problematic past. Then, finally, she gets the strength to restart her life after her conversion to Catholicism. Life or God offers a new opportunity to Maud. She needs to assist Amanda, a formal ex-dancer and minor celebrity, in the last days of her life.

They will get to know each other and, it seems, in the right moment of their lives. Amanda is looking for the necessary strength and courage to face death, while Maud seeks to please God and redeem her past, saving someone else’s soul. Among them, other characters will bring new decisive elements to the story. As a result, the film becomes intense, mad and painful.

  • Will Maud save Amanda?
  • Or is Amanda going to help Maud?
  • What if religion is just a part of this story?

Saint Maud – Trailer

Saint Maud | “Ash Wednesday” | Official Promo HD | A24
Official Trailer at Youtube

Saint Maud – Review, Analysis and Insights

(This section contains SPOILERS, we suggested to watch the movie first and then enjoy it.)

Saint Maud is a simple story with a short duration. Nevertheless, it offers many essential points and leaves us disturbed at the end. Religion, mental health, loneliness are just some of the topics in this movie. Apparently, all products of a consumeristic society, with no time spared for spirituality and deep thinking. There is a lot to say about this film, therefore let’s start with our analysis.

1. Loneliness and death

Amanda and Maud met at a crucial moment in their lives. But, unfortunately, Amanda’s terminal cancer doesn’t offer a lot of hope for her recovery. She feels alone and focuses her mind on preparing herself for her last breath. How will it be? What is when we die? Is it the end, or there is something more?

saint maud movie
Maud in a moment of mysticism

Who can provide a universal answer to these questions? Nobody, because faith, religion or spirituality are personal choices. Everyone develops his/her relationship with God or however you want to call it.

The movie lets us witness Maud’s (or Katie) vision, which brings us to the moment we don’t understand what is real or not.

  • Did Maud rise in the air?
  • Is Amanda a evil creature?
  • Did God speak to Maud?

Faith is trust. We can’t see God, but we can feel it during our lives. Each of us believes in his way. And the movie does exactly this part; let us see faith through the eyes of Maud. Maud met Amanda in the most challenging time of their lives, and Amanda is the perfect chance to redeem her past and find her purpose in life.

But there is more than that.

Both of them are lonely for different reasons. Amanda asks Maud to stay with her, to eat with her because she feels lonely. Maud is alone, almost for choice, after the incident she had to face.

Amanda wants to help Maud enjoy more life than the after-life. Maud wants to do the opposite with her.

Saint Maud Amanda
Amanda during an intense scene

Maud wants to be her saviour or, more precisely, she is looking for redemption. Loneliness is, for Amanda, something sad, the opposite of life. While for Maud is the perfect way to focus on her mission to please God. Watching the movie, we realize that we define what is true or not.

Death, how different it can be?

Death is the only certainty of our existence. So anyway, we can’t accept it as part of our lives. Death is the end for Amanda. Like many other people, she doesn’t believe in something after the last breath. Is it right? No one has the answer, but everyone has an opinion.

And that’s the case with Maud. She truly believes in God’s mercy to forgive us and welcome us to another world, that is the real one. Death can be scary and a blessing at the same time. It depends on who is looking and what they think.


2. Mary Magdalene, William Blake and the blessing of pains and shaky faith.

Maud is the new version of Katie. We know through Joy’s words that Katie did something terrible in her previous job and that Katie had troubles with her mind even before the hospital incident. Maud is the newborn version of Katie, totally dedicated to God to repay His gift of a new chance.

Mary Magdalene

Maud didn’t choose a saint. Instead, she picked The Saint. Mary Magdalene is an influential figure in the Catholic culture. She was the first human who eyewitnessed the most important miracle of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.

But not only because she was the first person to encounter Jesus after his resurrection. According to the Bible, at John 19:25 when describing the crucifixion, and at Mark 16:9-10 when talking about the resurrection. 

Movie Saint Maud
Maud becoming a “Saint”

Some Christian traditions know Mary Magdalene as the “apostle to the apostles.” In the canonical gospels, we find Mary Magdalene mentioned more than most apostles and more than any other woman in the gospels, other than Jesus’s family.

Other similarities between Maud and Mary are their relationship with daemons. According to the literature, seven demons possessed Mary. In addition, she must have suffered from severe emotional or psychological trauma. Therefore, her devotion to Jesus, who saved her from the demons, must have been extreme.

Morfydd Clark is Maud

Finally, some Catholic traditions mention that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute before being healed by Jesus. Somehow this one links her figure to Maud and her unhealthy lifestyle when she was Katie, the girl of pubs and “easy” sexual adventures.

After Mary Magdalene converted herself to Christ, her life drastically changed, and Mary became the favourite apostle of Jesus. Some literature supposes that she was also a partner for Jesus. After Maud conversion, she tried to emulate Mary and be entirely devoted to the Lord.

Mary Magdalene is the inspiring character that Maud tries to emulate, transforming her life and focusing only on Christ to redeem her past and find her purpose in life.

William Blake. A gift to embrace life.

In her attempt to help Maud, Amanda gits her a William Blake’s book. Blake was a Christian but with his view of the religion. He believes that art can express the divine, like contemporary prophets trying to explain what can’t be easily described. Blake opinion is that life is to celebrate with art and embrace it. And this is what Amanda tried to do with her life. The opposite of Maud’s vision, which is, instead, made of pain, restriction and prayers.

William Blake Saint Maud
A gift. A life changer.

Nevertheless, Maud doesn’t understand Blake’s view and thinks flames and evil creatures corrupt Amanda’s soul. Blake once famously referred to organized religion as an “ugly distortion of a truly spiritual life.” The more humankind attempts to put measures, limits, and analogues on the divine, the farther we get away from the undistilled truth of the unknowable.

Unfortunately, both Amanda and Blake failed on their mission to help Maud. But Maud faith and determination are definitely inspiring.

The blessing of pain and shaky faith

Never waste your pain.” It’s one of Maud’s most favourite sentences. A part of religion believes that the way to move closer to God is suffering pain. Like when Jesus, in his way of the cross, had to suffer any kind of pain and humiliation before reaching God. Maud prays with her knees on pebbles. She punishes physically herself every time she makes a mistake. She burns her hand when Amanda gets upset with her.

Maud uses nails and not pebbles in her shoes to atone for her sins on the crazy and sad night in the pub. But Maud’s faith is not always decisive. She constantly shakes, like most of us, and Maud often doesn’t understand what God wants from her. So Maud talks to God and asks to receive more straightforward instructions. For example, she mentions to God that she needs to wake up at six in the morning for the new job (and we know how painful is this one.)

Katie in Saint Maud
Maud preparing her puniishment.

She alternates moments of mysticism with convulsions and kind of divine orgasms. Amanda wanted to help Maud, as also Joy tried it. But, in the end, it wasn’t a matter of only faith. Katie needed help a long time ago, and no one was there to provide it.


3. The exceptional and genial end

The director and writer, Rose Glass, let us see the world through Maud’s eyes. As a result, Amanda became a Satanic figure. The vortex in the sky is a call for action from God. The cockroach follows Maud in her most difficult moments to trace the road to God, like at the end when it guides Maud to God’s voice. Kind of a representation of the Holy Spirit.

It’s exceptional, but the director does something more and genial. First, Maud gets wings after she kills the diabolic Amanda. Second, Maud did “what God asked”, and she was blessed and happy. Anyway, when Maud goes to the beach with the acetone ready to sacrifice herself, there we have something powerful and cinematographic. We hear people trying to stop her, and then we see them on their knees in front of a blessed Maud.

Saint Maud the end
Excellent cinematography in Saint Maud

When the flames started, she was pleased that we almost believed it as a genuinely mystical event. But then the last frame happens, and the end is that Maud is burning in pain, unfortunately, the last one for her. And this is how Maud, probably, wasted her pain and life forever.


Saint Maud – Pros, cons, best scene and final rating

Pros

It’s an excellent movie that transforms your feelings. Morfydd Clark (Maud) and Jennifer Ehle (Amanda) are excellent. The same goes for Lily Frazer in the role of Carol. However, our unique award goes to the director, Rose Glass, for how amazingly she told the story. For the cinematography and the power of letting us experience something so confusing and painful artistically.

Perhaps she deserves a “William’s Blake Award” for how she described something inexplicable. It’s a movie about loneliness, the desire for love, and the seek of purpose we all have in our lives.

Best Scene

There are incredible moments. Like when Maud, after her sinful night, receives the revelation and she gets a shower to clean herself of the sins of her evening. But, the unforgettable scene is when Maud slaps Amanda after the humiliation she received in front of everyone. Anyway, also this episode is another failure of her mission to serve God.

Saint maud blessing shower
A shower to clean her sins and embrace the revelation.

However, our best scene is the final one on the beach. It’s a great piece of cinema, for the reasons we explained above.

Cons

It’s absolutely challenging to find defects in this movie. Saint Maud is not a horror, not even a straightforward drama. It’s more. The film is a journey to find God and make peace with Him. And this is valid both for Amanda and Maud. Anyway, the film lacks characters analysis. We felt that there was time to introduce more details about Maud when she was Katie.

  • Why didn’t Joy help her previously?
  • What happened to Katie to generate her trauma?
  • Where are her parents?
  • How do they leave her alone in this challenging time?

Many questions remain unanswered, but the film is straightforward and deliver its purpose.

Our final rating is

8.5/10


Where you can watch Saint Maud?

The movie is currently available on Hulu. Check this link to see where you can watch it in your country.


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