Sundance Journal: ‘The Little Hours’

'The Little Hours'

Movie Rating:


The second nun-related film I saw at Sundance this year, ‘The Little Hours’ couldn’t possibly be farther on the other end of the spectrum from the other one. The reverence and holiness that fill ‘Novitiate‘ are completely absent in this vulgar comedy about off-kilter and psychotic nuns, a dim priest and an attractive peasant boy who can’t say “No.”

Set nearly 1,000 years ago, the story follows three nuns. One (Alison Brie) is discontent with having to be a nun and hopes that her father will soon find her a husband. Another (Aubrey Plaza) is pessimistic, rude and borderline evil. The last one (Kate Micucci) is naïve, innocent and willing to go with the crowd for fear of being left out. Together, they wreak havoc in their quiet and secluded monastery.

Dave Franco plays Massetto, a peasant in a nearby kingdom whose ruler (Nick Offerman) can’t please his uppity wife (Lauren Weedman). The wife constantly engages Massetto for sexual acts. When the king finds out, Massetto makes a run for it and ultimately ends up in the service of the priest (John C. Reilly) who oversees the monastery. In return for safety, Massetto vows to work as a laborer under one condition. He pretends to be a deaf mute so that he’ll be left alone by the nuns and can keep his fugitive identity a secret.

Shenanigans ensue.

‘The Little Hours’ is not the funniest movie ever, but it will certainly make you laugh. Brie and Franco bring as many laughs as you’d hope for. A little Aubrey Plaza goes a long way, but because she’s not the lead here, she’s in the movie just enough to have a positive impact. Micucci and Weedmad are great. Reilly and Offerman steal the show with their bits, some of the best parts of which were 100% improvised. Thanks to the cast, a brisk 90-minute run time and a crude script layered with funny little episodes, ‘The Little Hours’ is definitely worth seeing once.

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