Film Review: Saint Frances

Hollywood hasn’t exactly been progressive at addressing social issues over the years. Especially not those which impact directly on women. Indeed, since the inception of cinema the prevailing focus has consistently been on the male gaze. That is thankfully beginning to change as the industry finally opens its door to increasingly diverse voices; who bring with them their own unique perspectives and stories. Such as Kelly O’Sullivan, the writer and star of the magnificent Saint Frances.

At the age of thirty-four, Bridget (O’Sullivan) finds herself in something of a rut.  However, her luck seems to be changing when she’s offered a position as a nanny and finally meets a nice guy (Max Lipchitz). Both in the same week. She soon discovers that her charge, six-year-old Frances (Ramona Edith-Williams), has other ideas and is much more of a handful than she bargained for. Add an unwanted pregnancy into the mix and Bridget has a lot on her mind.

Saint Frances is overflowing with empathy. I’ve never seen a film quite like it. One which is so daringly honest and fearless direct. One which takes difficult situations and manages to create so much great humour. It’s the funniest film I’ve seen this year. Outlandishly so, at times. Alex Thompson’s direction is smart but it’s O’Sullivan’s writing and thrilling central performance which really wins the day. Saint Frances is the kind of film which makes you remember how exciting American independent cinema can be.

Saint Frances will be released in cinemas on 24 July.

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