An honest comedy complete with religion, abortions, babysitting, lesbianism, and choices.
We meet Kelly O’Sullivan as the writer of “Saint Frances” and the actress portraying Bridget, a mid-30s woman, who finds herself a new nanny position, while struggling to overcome her feminine problems. I’m sure, like most of you, I’ve never heard of this actress and writer or the director Alex Thompson, but then again in 1994, we were introduced to Kevin Smith, because of “Clerks.” So, I suspect we might see these two new talents again in the future.
Their first feature together,”Saint Frances,” is not one of those campy religious movies, rest assured, but it does use some faith for some of its characters. It’s an artisan film, so, we’re actually able to see real characters, and not aliens subjected to religious groups’ demands, and it’s refreshing.
The child Bridget is supposed to take care of is Frances (newcomer Ramona Edith Williams), whose lesbian parents (Charin Alvarez and Lily Mojekwu) have their hands full with work, their newborn baby, and what might be a divorce. And she can be a handful with Bridget, like when she screams in the park that she’s not her mother or when she waits outside her school building, when she’s not supposed to.
But like any adult-kid relationship movie, they tend to grow to like each other, especially at one point, when Bridget introduces Frances to the joys of Joan Jett, and when they get back at a kid (Braden Crothers) for breaking one of her toys. But don’t worry, their chemistry is not all “Big Daddy,” because they manage to find their hearts in the right places.
On the side, she misses her period, and finds herself pregnant with the intention of aborting it. She believes she would be a terrible mother, and that it would never survive the Trump era. She sees a partygoer named Jace (Max Lipchitz) for a short while, and then she falls for her music instructor (Jim True-Frost). And both these relationships have her dealing with her constant periods, and believe me: it’s a good thing her next guy wore a condom.
“Saint Frances” doesn’t care much for the guy relationships, but that’s not what the movie is about. It’s about finding the responsibility and love within yourself, and Bridget is a woman who learns about those things. Kelly O’Sullivan provides her with the courage and levity she deserves, especially in her character’s despair. And she also has a tender connection with Williams as the little girl and Alvarez as her sick mother.
The sense of humor in honest and innocent, its heart is sweet and flexible, and both of them are able to intertwine with a splash of patience. They’re not forced or labored, even if this is supposed to be a somewhat religious movie. It doesn’t deserve to be campy, just to appease to specific groups. It deserves to let these women blossom into human beings. O’Sullivan writes them with brains, and Thompson guides them with passion.
This is a good-natured, emotionally packed film, conjured up by people we don’t know now, but will learn more about in their future careers. And at this point, just because they aren’t big-time celebrities, doesn’t mean “Saint Frances” isn’t entertaining. It is, without a doubt.
Now Playing on The Showroom Cinema’s Virtual Screening.