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The Holy Girl (La Nina Santa) (2004)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 58
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 14

This provocative, lyrical drama mixes themes of forbidden sexuality and redemptive faith with a touch of humanism in a memorable, if disorienting, visual style.


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 5

This provocative, lyrical drama mixes themes of forbidden sexuality and redemptive faith with a touch of humanism in a memorable, if disorienting, visual style.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,985

My Rating

Movie Info

Lucrecia Martel directed this potent drama of love, sex, misunderstanding, and coming-of-age. Amalia (María Alche) is a girl edging into her early teens who has begun to ripen into adulthood. Amalia lives in a big hotel owned and operated by her divorced mother, Helena (Mercedes Morán), and her uncle Freddy (Alejandro Urdapilleta). Amalia and her best friend, Josefina (Julieta Zylberberg), are becoming increasingly aware of their own desires and are curious about sex, but between their Catholic


Art House & International, Drama

Lucrecia Martel

Sep 6, 2005


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All Critics (64) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (14) | DVD (8)

Director Lucrecia Martel's storytelling is spare to the point of being stingy.

July 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Martel's style is tentative, elusive, so much so that even the most conventional episodes benefit from her fresh perspective.

June 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A very intelligent movie marked by candor and compassion.

June 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ultimately turns out to be something of a bore, a film that, like one of its main characters, wanders around touching on subjects and then fleeing before connecting fully.

June 17, 2005
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A uniquely intriguing motion picture.

June 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A low-key tone poem about the passions of sex and religion

June 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With this well executed drama, a follow-up to her La Cienega, Lucrecia Martel emerges as a major Argentinean filmmaker.

June 28, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Some of The Holy Girl is hard to follow, but the reward is Martel's ability to create a spiritual yet subtly lecherous mood.

October 27, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Martel's distinctive and fascinatingly innovative style warrants her being considered as an auteur.

September 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews once humane, encompassing every shade of gray, and bracingly cold-eyed in its assessment of human endeavor.

September 8, 2005 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

Obviously, this one is not for all tastes, but it is an impressive showing for Argentine filmmaker Martel, who's managed to do Almodovar-type material every bit as well as her mentor.

July 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

what should have been a religious experience comes off more like a botched coming-of-age tale with some pungent atmospherics.

June 25, 2005 Full Review Source:

Provokes a wealth of unsettling thought, even as it declines to pass any final judgments of its own.

June 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Alche's crooked grin is as gleeful as the nose-wriggling enchantress in Bewitched. The elliptically implicit ending reminds me of Purple Noon minus the murder.

June 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Weekly
Seattle Weekly

A series of fractured tales that never resolve, never explain anything, and never get any more interesting.

June 17, 2005 Full Review Source:

The subtly sinister atmosphere is certainly striking...but the story is so fragmentary and allusive that trying to make much sense of it is rather like grasping at smoke.

June 17, 2005 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

The volatile plot churns with a style that toys with the rawest edge of R-rated tolerance much like American Beauty did in 1999.

June 17, 2005

Haunting, sensual, allusive.

June 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Oregonian

We're not sure why one is supposed to care.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Audience Reviews for The Holy Girl (La Nina Santa)

"The Holy Girl" is one of the most boring films I've ever seen. Set in a hotel during a doctors' conference, it chronicles myriad banalities such as people having lunch together silently. Then we watch maids doing laundry. Then the children of hotel employees take religion classes together. Then teenage girls wash their hair, etc. One banal sequence after another.

One girl who lives at the hotel starts to have feelings of longing for one of the doctors at the conference after he touches her in a provocative way one day. She starts following him around the hotel, and he tries to avoid her. The girl's mother also develops a mild crush on this doctor, which is hard to understand because he barely ever speaks or does anything interesting. Almost no one says anything interesting. There is practically no script at all.

I cannot understand what writer/director Lucrecia Martel thought was so interesting about all these banalities. Her most recent film, "The Headless Woman," was vastly more interesting. By contrast, "The Holy Girl" has almost no content whatsoever. This is a must-avoid.
November 30, 2009
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Holy Girl", Helena(Mercedes Moran), a divorcee with a teenaged daughter, Amalia(Maria Alche), works at a hotel hosting a convention of doctors. Amalia is so devout it occasionally spooks her mother, and is wondering how best she can serve Christ. An opportunity presents itself when one of the doctors at the hotel, Dr. Jano(Carlos Bellos), fondles Amalia at an outdoor musical performance. Instead of confronting or reporting him, this only serves to pique Amalia's curiosity...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Holy Girl" is an unconventional movie that takes a low-key approach to potentially controversial material. It is a meditation on duality.(Would it be too much of a stretch to point out that Janus was the Roman god represented by two faces?) Amalia is very religious; wants to wait until marriage before having sex but still has physical longings. Dr. Jano is a respected doctor and family man but is also quite the pervert.(And he is not the only doctor to behave differently away from home.)[/font]
May 22, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Martel defies the canonized "Catholic" topics by alienating the values of love,detest and sickness.Inner sickness,vacant passion and finally,that tempest called teenage years.The languid pace of the film doesn't repulse the viewer,on the contrary...I felt more repulsed by the holiness of certain characters,thus giving me a reason to disrespect their religiousness.
August 26, 2009
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

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