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Not Everyone's Cup of Tea- But Great If It Is!
gomeza-571744 June 2017
I was able to see the Little Hours at Sundance and loved it. I will be going to see it again when it has its official release. This film is very loosely based on the Decameron by Baccaccio, a collection of 100 short stories written in the mid 1300's. With an amazing cast of comedy talent, great chemistry between all the cast members, spectacular cinematography of the Italian countryside, and a great score, it is something unique to behold.

The story centers around three bored, foul-mouthed nuns Alessandra (Brie), Fernanda (Plaza), and Genevra (Micucci) and their crazy antics. Early on in the film, Massetto (Franco) finds refuge in the convent as a deaf-mute and sparks some some hilarious and sexy interactions with the nuns.

After the first screening I noticed there were others that loved it, and many who were like "What the hell did I just watch? This is one of those movies that is not for everyone, and the cast and director made sure people knew this. Everyone seemed to have had a hell of a lot of fun making it- and it (really) shows in the interactions in the film.

If you're not easily offended, love quirky, raunchy humor, and love to have a good time, then this film may be for you.
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An Experiment in Comedy
jdgxiv-137-66935815 July 2017
That kind of fails...

However, there is a great cast and a clever premise with some nice twists and turns, but it still ends up disappointingly unfunny and ungripping.

This is very subjective and I know you shouldn't judge a comedy just on how many lols it provokes, but it should be mentioned that in the theater there were no significant laughs.

The casting is great in every way (Allison Brie, Kate Micucci, John C. Reilley and really everyone). And its a very funny idea to see people like Aubrey Plaza and Fred Armison playing Medieval nuns and priests, but they just didn't capitalize on it.

The tone of dialogue is meant to be irreverent and modern, which it was, but somehow it just didn't jive or contrast with the setting in a way that worked. And it wasn't very funny. The style of the dialogue was kind of an experiment (having them speak in completely modern inflection with no effort to make them sound like they are from another time period), and it failed. It was a little too heavy handed, or too lazy. They should have taken a cue from Woody Allen's comedic period piece "Love and Death" which plays with a lot with different tones of dialogue (Woody Allen's character himself always being the neurotic modern voice). But doing that would require something which this film has little of: subtlety.

And then all the inspirational music at the end like we're watching a totally different kind of movie. A bit confused.

Like many period pieces, this film tells more about the period in which it was made (our time), than it does about the period in the film (the middle ages). One projects oneself onto the object in view and what you seem to be ridiculing is actually yourself. So this film is filled with an angst, malaise, and boredom that is very modern, very millennial. America has been projecting its ideals onto the whole world for a long time, just as Hollywood projects our modern mentality onto every epoch it deals with. Its very very hard for people to actually have empathy for cultures they don't know or understand and its very hard for modern people to have any grip on what life was actually like in previous ages. We only seem to project our own obsessions onto everything.

And this is fine b/c this is a farce and no one really goes to the movies looking for an actual history lesson, but unfortunately that's where we seem to get so many of our lessons (and unconsciously form our opinions).

Much of this is just ranting and besides the point.

Great cast, funny premise, but completely misses the mark.
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Irreverent and hilarious medieval comedy romp
Red-Barracuda30 June 2017
In medieval Italy, a young man takes refuge in a convent after fleeing from his master who wishes him dead after he is caught sleeping with his wife.

Now, this was something a bit different to the norm that's for sure! There really isn't a surfeit of medieval comedies about sweary nuns, so this one is in pretty unfarmed territory in a lot of ways. While the unique set-up is definitely in the films favour, what elevates it so much more is the fact that it is that even rarer beast, a modern cinematic comedy that actually has plenty of laughs. The principal reason for this is a great ensemble cast who all do very good work. John C. Reilly is great as Father Tommasso who gets bevvied nightly on the holy wine, Fred Armisen is very funny as Bishop Bartolomeo who pitches up later only to be aghast at the carry on going on at the nunnery and Nick Offerman is hilarious as the obnoxious Lord Bruno, a man who sports an impressive medieval mullet haircut. But best of all are the trio of nuns, played by Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Kate Micucci. All three actresses put in excellent comic performances in wild portrayals of medieval nuns played like modern day city girls. They swear like troopers, throw turnips at the local handyman and seek sex at every given opportunity, culminating with a night-time witch's ceremony. Seemingly this nonsense is based on The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, although I am sure many liberties must have been taken with the original text. It looks beautiful though with great location cinematography in Tuscany, while it also has a great soundtrack to top it off.

As the old saying goes, this one certainly is not for everyone. Its combination of religion with utterly irreverent humour will rub people up the wrong way for sure, while its bawdy nature will put others off. I personally thought it was a really good laugh though. A comedy film coming at us from a unique perspective. If you are on the look-out for something (a) different and (b) funny then this could be just the ticket.
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Bawdy romp
conan-218 June 2017
Loved it. We saw it at the Sydney Film Festival.

The film will struggle to find the audience it deserves because selling a medieval bawdy romp in today's market is difficult. I think back to the 70's and there were many more of these.

The cast is fun and the presence of quality actors such as Nick Offerman and John C Reily show it is not an ultra-low soft-porn production, though the titling could be referencing that at the start.

I saw this at the same weekend as the Beguiled, also about a group of women cloistered who encounter a single male. LH is far more fun and a better use of your time.

Set in Tuscany (no production notes on filming locations) it is prettily shot.

Nudity is not overused, there are a couple of breast shots and the full frontal stuff is in the distance by firelight so hardly tittilating. Nothing that was not done ad nauseum through the 70's
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New cult film added to the list.
photobcnas11 June 2017
I really enjoyed watching this movie. Great cast! The chemistry is so good, definitely a new comedy classic.

The pace is perfect and keep me laughing throughout the whole movie. Great location and a beautiful treatment. I would love to see more stuff like this in the future.
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At times captivating, at times bewildering
Paul Allaer21 August 2017
"The Little Hours" (2017 release; 90 min.) brings the story of a group of nuns in a small convent. As the movie opens, we are reminded it is "Garfagnana 1347", and we watch as the nuns go about their daily tasks and deal with their frustrations. Meanwhile, the handyman at a nearby castle is found out to be cheating with his master's wife, and as luck would have it, he ends up being hired by the priest running the convent. It's not long before some of the nuns have "impure thoughts"... To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: the movie is very loosely based on/inspired by the book "The Decameron" by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (and source for the infamous 1971 movie of the same name by Pier Paolo Pasolini). Writer-director Jeff Baena takes a couple of the dozens of tales found in that book, and builds a script around it that is intended to showcase several of the actresses playing the nuns, including Alison Brie and Audrey Plaza (the latter also being a co-producer). The handyman is portrayed by Dave Franco (brother of James Franco, and looking remarkably similar). It took my quite a while to get into the flow of the movie, as at first we're not sure what to make of all this (the F-bomb laced outbursts, for one). Is this even comedy? If so, it's certainly one with a heavy twist of semi-absurd Monty Python-inspired comedy. The movie really hits its stride in the second half, where there are some memorable scenes (the "confession" taken by the priest of the handyman truly is a classic). The priest is played hilariously by John C. Reilly, who seems to revel in this part. Given that I had no idea in the initial 20 min. whether I would even stay through the end of the movie, that is quite remarkable!

"The Little Hours" premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival to positive buzz, and so when it finally opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, it was a given that I would check it our. The Sunday evening screening where I saw this at was attended nicely, somewhat to my surprise. Maybe people will find this a quirky little comedy. For me it was a bit too much all over the map, even if the second half is markedly better than the first half. In any event, I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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I'm sure most practicing traditional Catholics will not like it, but I absolutely loved it!
Hellmant28 July 2017
'THE LITTLE HOURS': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A period comedy about a convent full of sexually deprived nuns, that begin experimenting (for the first time) when a runaway slave takes refuge at the convent. The film is based on the first and second stories in 'The Decameron', a collection of novellas (published in 1886) written by Giovanni Boccaccio. The movie was written and directed by Jeff Baena; who's helmed other indie comedies like 2014's 'LIFE AFTER BETH' and 2016's 'JOSHY' (both also featuring Aubrey Plaza). The film stars Aubrey Plaza (who also served as a producer for the film), Alison Brie, Kate Micucci, Dave Franco, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Nick Offerman and Paul Reiser. It's received mostly positive reviews from critics, and a limited indie theatrical release at the Box Office. I think it's a hilarious movie!

Alessandra (Brie), Fernanda (Plaza) and Ginerva (Micucci) are three young nuns that are extremely unhappy with their convent life; and they all obviously have much deeper desires. They're so unhappy that they constantly harass men that work at the convent. After an employee (Paul Weitz) quits, due to their constant harassment, a runaway slave, named Massetto (Franco), takes his place; at the suggestion of Father Tommasso (Reilly). Massetto also pretends to be deaf and blind, also due to the priest's suggestion, and the young nuns decide to take advantage of him, in order to explore their sexuality.

Growing up Catholic, I'm always fascinated with movies that deal with religion (and spirituality). This is a very dark, and quite crude, sex comedy; that I'm sure most practicing traditional Catholics would not enjoy. I found it to be hilarious though. It's honestly laugh-out- loud funny for almost it's entire running length, and there's never a bad joke (in my opinion). The cast is all fantastic in their roles, and the subject matter is very interesting (and also quite timely) for almost anyone (even if you've never been to church). It's almost a 5 star movie for me, but not quite. I highly recommend it though.

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The 11th Commandment: Thou Shall Not See This Movie!
jadepietro20 July 2017
(RATING: ☆☆ out of 5 )



IN BRIEF: A ribald farce whose biggest sin is its unfunny screenplay.

SYNOPSIS: Lustful nuns run rampant in this sex comedy set in the Middle Ages.

JIM'S REVIEW: Bless me father, for we have sinned...big time. In the independent comedy, The Little Hours, little time is spent on subtleties. Shock value is frequent, both in language and in actions, as we meet some nuns who are sexually deviants in the highest order. (Needless to say, many Catholic groups are protesting this film's sacrilegious content.)

Loosely based on The Decameron, Jeff Baena's subversive film takes us behind the walls of a 13th century convent and squarely in the midst of a trio of lustful sisters, Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), and Ginerva (Kate Micucci) who are "beguiled" by a new handyman, Massetto (Dave Franco). He is posing as a deaf mute and in hiding from Lord Bruno (Nick Offerman), who is after him for bedded his wife (Lauren Weedman). The convent and temporary sanctuary is run (or mismanaged) by Sister Marea (Molly Shannon) and Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) and it is coming undone from all of these farcical complications.

One might recommend this film to the most liberally-minded of individuals, but even that is questionable as Mr. Baena squanders his chances by playing up the sexual antics while playing down the real farce. The non-stop profanity and sexual situations could easily offend the more conservatively-based moviegoers just within the first ten minutes of the movie itself. But if you are one of the ribald loving few, who likes their raunchy hi-jinks with a satirical sting, this is your kinda movie. For me, the satire was lost.

The title makes no sense, but then neither does the movie. The film wants to be outrageous and edgy but it never goes far enough, mostly due to a scattershot screenplay that seems more improvised than written. Characters are walking clichés and the plot remains a series of unfulfilled opportunities and comic possibilities.

The Little Hours more often provides groans with a few laughs in-between, mostly due to its nimble cast of players who know their way around a good joke or two (although finding a good joke in this movie is indeed a spiritual quest. But the film cannot sustain its own comic energy and some of the set pieces seem like routine SNL skits rather than well written satire.

Only Ms. Plaza, Ms. Micucci, Mr. Reilly, and Ms. Weedman delivering a few chuckles. Fred Armisen also makes a quick appearance as a visiting bishop and his droll humor in one short scene does registers. Sadly, the talented cast is wasted.

Granted, the director has a small budget, but Mr. Baena has an even smaller vision. As the screenwriter, he rarely builds any comic conflict to the absurd degree it needs to be remotely funny. He also unwisely allows his actors to speak in modern day jargon which becomes labored and their pratfalls are non-existent.

The Little Hours is unfunny and disappointingly dull. It may be the longest hour and a half any moviegoer shall endure...and that is the ultimate sin. The filmmakers should say three Hail Marys and an act of contrition over this dud.
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Pass on this one
balmerj8 August 2017
This would have made a great 15 minute short on Portlandia or some other show along those lines. Sitting through this movie was pretty painful and the whole plot got old after 30 minutes. The premise of the movie was movie was funny enough, but after a while you just wanted it to end. Skip this one.
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The 1970's called and they want their movie back
phoenixinvictus10 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know if this was a serious movie attempting to be funny or if it was a funny movie attempting to be serious. Having a bunch of nuns toss around the F-Bomb may have seemed amusing around the turn of the century, but it didn't bring any laughs to me. I don't find it funny to see anyone being bullied and insulted, in this case, a peasant being beaten and called a "Jew".

Holding a knife to a man's throat and forcing him to perform sexually for two nuns might bring giggles to some while they say: "oh man what a lucky guy!" is not funny. If the roles had been reversed and it was two priests holding a knife to a woman's neck then I am sure that there would have been a lot more indignation. Rape is rape and there should be no double standards.

Watching Ginerva, played the delightful Kate Micucci, smear blood on her face and getting high on Belladonna was not the least bit funny. In fact, it actually made me sad to see a poor woman subject herself to get the attention of a man.

I'm all for empowering women and removing the veil of the hypocrisy of religion. However, this movie fails in its message to deliver that.

The most depressing thing about this movie is the cast. They aren't your average actors, but great actors. The only thing that made this movie bearable to watch was them. They were wasted in a movie with a terrible script. It comes almost unbearable to watch. I gave this movie three stars because of the actors involved otherwise I would have given it a zero.
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