We’ve always been curious about some of the unlikely names of several saints and Saint Maud is as unlikely as any other particularly where we first encounter her as a nurse, a gibbering wreck crouched in a corner bathed in a nauseous green hue. Maybe she had been overlooked to appear in a NHS hospital ward Tik-Tok song & dance routine if the early days of the pandemic lockdown were anything to go by. As it is it Maud has been involved in a patient fatality at the hospital where she works.
Unsurprisingly she soon moves to a private are home as a live in nurse giving palliative care to a famous but terminally ill ex-dancer Amanda (Jennifer Ehle) who finds escape in drink, drugs and the company of a female escort. Maud’s dedication to her patient is absolute seeing herself as having been called to a higher purpose but is equally appalled at Amanda’s lifestyle. Their relationship, initially one of respect, quickly goes in the opposite direction. Amanda’s fascination with Maud’s religious commitment is levelled with sexual tension by the escorts frequent visits that Maud eavesdrops. It quickly turns to scorn on both sides and Maud soon reveals herself to be about as suitable a nurse as Amanda Holden is as a marriage guidance counsellor.
Moodily lit with close ups of the characters that shuts out the rest of society Saint Maud becomes ever more disturbed emphasized by her own internal dialogue as an infrequent voiceover justifying her own actions to herself and what she believes is God speaking to her (albeit in Welsh – often described as the language of Heaven although we find it ideal if we’re playing scrabble) and it all builds to a shocking climax.
A small scale low budget film Saint Maud is a great debut by writer – director Rose Glass with Morfydd Clark’s unnerving central performance (and in complete contrast to her role In The Personal History of David Copperfield). With equally good support from Jennifer Ehle and also Lily Knight as a fellow nurse who tries to befriend Maud too late to save her. Saint Maud is sombre, solemn and shocking.
Here’s the Saint Maud trailer…….