Agnes of God

That night, murder wasn't the only sin.

Drama Mystery
98 min     6.098     1985     USA


When a dead newborn is found, wrapped in bloody sheets, in the bedroom wastebasket of a young novice, psychiatrist Martha Livingston is called in to determine if the seemingly innocent novice, who knows nothing of sex or birth, is competent enough to stand trial for the murder of the baby.


Wuchak wrote:
_**Melodramatic havoc at a rural Canadian Convent with Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly**_ After a bloody scandal at a Convent outside Montreal, a court-appointed psychiatrist (Jane Fonda) investigates to determine if a devout, but hysterical young woman (Meg Tilly) is fit to stand trial, but she’ll have to get past the intractable Mother Superior (Anne Bancroft) to find the truth. "Agnes of God" (1985) is a psychological drama revolving around a Convent with a few scenes of Montreal thrown in. What we have here is a mystery: Was the innocent & naïve Agnes (1) impregnated by God, (2) by some dude in the barn or wherever, or (3) a kind of spontaneous cloning or twinning. Concerning that last possibility: There are supposedly nine documented virgin births on record and the offspring were all girls who looked like their mothers. The idea that Agnes calls the baby "she” augments this possibility, plus the fact that she seemingly has enough faith to put holes in her hand, aka stigmata, why couldn't she split a cell in her womb? I’m not going to say what conclusion the ambiguous film points to, if any. “Stigmata” (1999) covers some of the same ground but is from the thriller/horror genre whereas “Agnes of God” is more mundane. “Stigmata” is all-around more compelling while “Agnes” is rather one-dimensional with women constantly confronting each other with a lot of screaming and crying. Yes, there are heavy reasons for these emotional dialogues, and those reasons are interesting to explore, but the story just wasn’t gripping for me. Too bad, because Fonda, Bancroft and Tilly bend over backwards to pull it off. While the movie didn’t really work for me, it’s a passionate and noble effort centering around faith, logic and ultimate reality (truth). And I have no doubt it has a cult following. Give it a try if the themes trip your trigger, but you’ll probably be disappointed. The movie runs 1 hour, 38 minutes, and was shot in Rockwood & Toronto, Ontario, with establishing shots of Montreal. GRADE: C