Lourdes review

Wheelchair-bound and reliant on support from others, multiple sclerosis sufferer Christine joins a pilgrimage to Lourdes in hope of a miracle cure. And, praise be, following a holy water shampoo, it appears that is just what she receives as she stands from her wheelchair much to the amazement and annoyance of her companions.

Although Christine doesn’t exactly suddenly leap out of her chair, the pacing is slightly odd, with an effective first act stretching the length of the first half of the film. The interest grows in the second half when we see not only Christine’s reaction to the “miracle” but others’, too, and the general reaction leans more towards non-interest, jealousy and even indignation than congratulation and celebration.

The ultra-low-key tone prevents a powerful emotional punch but director Jessica Hausner applies an effective delicate touch to her own script. The film’s highlight, however, is lead actor Sylvie Testud who impressively plays a complex cocktail of sadness, loneliness, acceptance of her condition (and refusal to accept it) and reaction to cruelty around her (both before and after her big event) with incredible subtlety.

3 out of 5

13th Apr 2010 | On IMDb