Hail Mary (1985)

Hail Mary (1985)

“I’m going to have a baby, and I’ve slept with no man.”

A teenage virgin (Myriem Roussel) becomes mysteriously pregnant, and must convince her boyfriend (Thierry Rode) that the conception was “other-worldly”.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Christianity
  • French Films
  • Godard Films
  • Pregnancy
  • Virginity

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this notorious Godard film — condemned by the Pope upon its release — is actually “curiously uninvolving, confusing, and boring”.

He argues that “Godard shows his growing lack of concern for acting”, and what’s worse, “he doesn’t bother to develop his characters sufficiently so we can understand their feelings about their unique circumstances.” Along with Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Hail Mary is likely to be remembered more for the controversy it engendered among religious groups than any intrinsic values it possesses as a drama. Peary does, however, provide an interesting analytical spin on the story, suggesting that Godard meant for us to view all births — not just that of Mary’s baby — as mysterious and “extra-terrestrial”. I’m not sure I agree with this assessment, but it’s certainly a provocative take on the enduring Christian mythos of immaculate conception. If you rent the DVD, be sure to check out “The Book of Mary”, a short coming-of-age film included as an extra.

Redeeming Qualities:

  • Fine cinematography

Must See?
No, though film fanatics may be curious to check it out simply given its controversial history.


One thought on “Hail Mary (1985)

  1. First viewing since its release. The only reason I bothered with a second viewing is because I had absolutely no memory of the first one.

    Skip it. It really is boring. I wouldn’t call it “provocative”, just dull and pretentious. (And I was actually trying to give it a respectful viewing.) The non-Godard extra mentioned – ‘The Book of Mary’ – is actually a better film, even if it is also ultimately of little consequence.

    I wouldn’t throw ‘HM’ in with Scorsese’s ‘Last Temptation’ – which is flawed but I found it to be more interesting on a second viewing. At least – unlike Godard – Scorsese was *communicating* to an audience what he was grappling with.

    It’s ‘amusing’ that the Catholic church got so upset with Godard’s film that it mislabeled it as “blasphemous” – when it’s mostly tedious and sleep-inducing.

    (One of Juliette Binoche’s early appearances – as a whiny woman ‘competing’ with Mary for Joseph’s affection.)

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