The Little Hours (MovieMan Dan’s Guest Review)
A GREAT PREMISE THAT DOESN’T
LEAD TO MUCH
Intro: Every year at Sundance, there are a number of break out films in the lineup that festival goers and film critics a like just won’t stop talking about. They blog and converse about the films they liked most and they of course provide recommendations to their friends and followers while doing so. Likewise, they also create some much welcomed free marketing of sorts for the filmmakers and distributors who pick up these titles and those in office positions love it. It’s the same story with every film festival really but it’s most true at Sundance especially as the films at other big fests like: TIFF or Venice for example usually play in theatres a mere month or two after their premieres. Studio heads don’t mind though as the more buzz that can be created this way means the less money they will have to spend on the film’s advertising campaign.
It has proven so successful that today, distributors will even choose to hold these titles longer just so that the buzz can linger around online longer – creating more and more hype as the title finally secures a release date and eventually a trailer and some promotional material as well. This happened most recently with “The Big Sick” *which is having great success – entering wide release this weekend* and now the folks at GunPowder & Sky *in the USA* and Mongrel Media * here in Canada* are hoping to see the same results with “The Little Hours” which is now entering its theatrical release a full 6 months after it’s festival premiere. I’ve seen dozens of posts about this movie in the last few months leading up to the film’s release and it has definitely succeeded in getting me extremely excited for the film.
It’s not just me either – People are talking about the film and with all of the re-shares on Social Media more and more people are becoming aware of it and are thus wanting to go see it.
Some times the films will live up to the incredible hype and other times, moviegoers will walk away disappointed. Which brings me to my review of “The Little Hours” which I unfortunately wasn’t a fan of. Before, I dive in further though, let’s first talk plot.
Plot: Medieval nuns Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), and Ginevra (Kate Micucci) lead a simple life in their convent. Their days are spent chafing at monastic routine, spying on one another, and berating the estate’s day laborer. After a particularly vicious insult session drives the peasant away, Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) brings on new hired hand Massetto (Dave Franco), a virile young servant forced into hiding by his angry lord. Introduced to the sisters as a deaf-mute to discourage temptation, Massetto struggles to maintain his cover as the repressed nunnery erupts in a whirlwind of pansexual horniness, substance abuse, and wicked revelry. (Mongrel Media)
Review: “The Little Hours” is unfortunately what I would consider to be a really forgettable indie comedy in my eyes. I was hoping for a fun comedy that I could recommend and have future viewings with friends but really I wasn’t all that into it. I was never bored as I was always interested to see where it would go and if it would get better but in the end I walked away extremely disappointed. The hype from Sundance plays a part in this as well as the misleading marketing but also the film itself is also largely at fault. There are a couple things that I liked and I’ll get to those positives in the coming paragraphs but really there isn’t much going on here. The premise of swearing, sexually confused nuns in a Monty Python like setting might sound awesome on paper but the execution here was just poor. There are a lot of missed opportunities here and when the film does try it just feels really forced.
Now, that brings me to the biggest problem I had with: “The Little Hours”. This film simply isn’t the raunchy comedy that I was promised or that I was expecting and I was largely disappointed as a result. All of the promotional material and reviews of this film promise something that simply doesn’t exist here and I’m not going to lie – I may have let that play into my expectations a bit. There’s nothing I can do to go back and see this movie with fresh eyes at this point but after sleeping on it for a few days, I still can’t find many positives here. With that said, this film doesn’t ever play things safe as there is a lot of cursing and sexual references, nudity and crude acts performed by the characters but it really doesn’t go to the extremes that you would think it would. Sure, it’s going to offend some of it’s audience but that’s not really all that hard to do nowadays and compared to some of the cruder R-rated comedies that come out nowadays, this is nothing in comparison.
I don’t absolutely hate this movie though because it did manage to keep me entertained and it provided some laughs but I really do feel as though I should have enjoyed it more. The premise, trailers and every promotional piece had me excited but yet here we are. Sure, the performances were all pretty good from the entire cast (although they sometimes went over-the-top) and the film looks great in terms of production and costume design but other than that, I’m struggling to list positives here. I think this movie will play better to those who go in with lower expectations but even with that said, I can’t find it in myself to recommend seeing this one in theatres. I would suggest waiting to give it a shot via rental or to wait on find it streaming on Netflix. It’s fun to see Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon in a film together but they could have really been replaced by just about any new and coming actors and we would have had the same movie here.
In Conclusion/My Verdict: 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars – “The Little Hours” isn’t a terrible film but it’s certainly underwhelming in my eyes. The performances, cinematography, production and costume design are all strong aspects but with such a great premise I was left underwhelmed overall. I can still recommend a rental/future Netflix stream for those who are interested but I can’t recommend for people to go spend the money on a ticket unless it’s cheap night at the local Multiplex and you’ve seen everything else worth watching already. With that said, however, I’m somewhat in the minority here so who knows maybe some will dig this one. I did give myself more than enough time to sleep on it though and I still feel the same way as I did when I first finished it. Perhaps, it would have worked better as a short film? Who Knows.
“The Little Hours’ is Now Playing in Select Cities across the US from the folks over at GunPowder & Sky. Keep your eyes peeled for showtimes in your City as the film continues to expand following strong Box-Office performance thus far.
Likewise, “The Little Hours” opens This Friday in Toronto and Vancouver for those who are located in Canada from the folks over at Mongrel Media. There will also be expansions to follow in the coming weeks for those who are interested.
Those attending the 21st Edition of Montreal’s Fantasia Fest will also have an opportunity to check out this one out for themselves if you’re interested. The film has a screening on Monday, July 17. This isn’t part of my festival coverage from there but I will be covering select films from the festival in the coming days/weeks so stay tuned.