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Innocents, The

Director:  Anne Fontaine
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  2.0

French physician Mathilde (Lou de Laâge), working for the Red Cross in WWII-era Poland, lends medical assistance to several nuns raped and impregnated by (very fertile) Russian soldiers and helps them keep their great dilemma from the outside world. The tone is chilly - the sisters are in a state of shock and experiencing a crisis of faith - bit it's also a little bit too distant to be truly effective - Fontaine's approach separates the audience from the going-on, making it tough to empathize with her characters. She also does a poor job of making the nuns that distinctive from each other (aside from Mother Superior, who makes plenty of dumb decisions) - they're victims in uniforms - so when one of them commits suicide, it has little impact (also the men in this are blandly sex-obsessed ... only Vincent Macaigne's Jewish surgeon is less violent about it). De Laâge, however, is the real revelation (and working with very little): I have no idea where directors keep finding these magnificent French actresses but I can only pray there are an inexhaustible number out there for decades to come (Hallelujah!).

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