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TIFF 2019 Review: Saint Maud

A beautiful performance lost in a forgettable film.

Midnight Madness at TIFF always evokes thoughts of the rowdy and euphoric crowds that you’d get all day at a festival like SXSW. It’s an incredible experience that often leads to some of the best film going a cinephile can hope for. However, it can also lead you into some of the weaker offerings in the festival, the genre bound that can’t seem to get it right.

Saint Maud explores the religious journey of a palliative care nurse, Maud, who has become especially invested in her latest patient. Evoking feelings of dread that are reminiscent of Taxi Driver, isolation and extreme narcissism are abound, which the terrifying performance from Morfydd Clark leans into. In fact, as you peel back the layers you begin to realize that this might just be a mesmerizing performance in a rather bland film, however the final moments of the film transcend everything that comes before it. 

There are some haunting moments of dialogue peppered thinly across the film, giving a richness to the principal cast, but often other players feel like nothing more than caricatures in a film that feels like it wants to be doing more than that. Visually the film’s framing and general composition gives the film a necessary edge in the story telling, that unfortunately isn’t backed by it’s narrative.

A bit of a hit but a larger miss, Saint Maud holds a performance you’ll want to see, but you might not be willing to sit through.

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a Toronto based filmmaker and creative mad man. Legend has it that he spent most of his childhood locked away in a cell beta testing Netflix.