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Lourdes (2010)



Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 40
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 3

As bewitchingly ambiguous as it is beautifully shot, Lourdes explores profound themes with subtlety and a deft comic touch -- and a marvelous performance from its star, Sylvie Testud.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 1

As bewitchingly ambiguous as it is beautifully shot, Lourdes explores profound themes with subtlety and a deft comic touch -- and a marvelous performance from its star, Sylvie Testud.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,616

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Movie Info

Christine has been confined to a wheelchair for most of her life. In order to escape her isolation, she makes a journey to Lourdes, the iconic site of pilgrimage in the Pyrenees mountains. She wakes up one morning seemingly cured by a miracle. The leader of the pilgrimage group, a handsome 40-year-old volunteer from the Order of Malta, begins to take an interest in her. She tries to hold on to this newfound chance for happiness, while her cure provokes envy.


Art House & International, Drama

Jessica Hausner

Jul 12, 2010

Palisades Tartan - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (41) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (3) | DVD (2)

One of the most observant -- and enigmatic -- movies of the year.

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In a film rich with provocative questions, Hausner audaciously examines the ambivalent nature of miracles. Are they gifts from a loving God or random occurrences, bereft of any moral or meaning?

April 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A provocative and surprising pleasure that may persuade even the most hardened rationalists to reconsider what religion means as a sanctity to those who have few other choices in life.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautifully led by birdlike Sylvie Testud as an ailing young woman in a wheelchair, every character (pilgrim and helper alike) exhibits a soul. And shaped with confident talent by the Austrian filmmaker, every serenely composed shot matters.

March 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A paralyzed young woman with MS stands up and walks in Lourdes, but it'll be a real miracle if anyone manages to stay awake throughout this extravagantly dull film.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comments (3)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lourdes starts from the unexpected position of believing miracles are possible, but it doesn't paper over the religious and practical problems they raise -- for the blessed and bereft alike.

February 18, 2010 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hausner frequently composes pictures in which our view is cut off by a wall, a pillar, or a pilgrim ... but like God's silence, these obstructions remain impenetrable.

June 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Image

The withholding of judgment persists across Lourdes, which is comic, haunting, sweet, pious, unsettling, agnostic, and wholly deadpan at various moments.

March 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Movies about miracles range from the awful to the unwatchable... that all changes with Jessica Hausner's Lourdes; it's a visually-striking, beautifully-realised, emotionally-devastating drama that both salutes and skewers the deeply-religious.

January 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Quickflix

[An] aesthetically and tonally controlled knockout.

November 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

An odd, dispassionate religious film that will likely be more powerful for skeptics than true believers, it manages to most strongly suggest the possibility of grace by so clinically observing its opposite.

July 18, 2010 Full Review Source:

Spiritually flawed and often cynical though Hausner's pilgrims undoubtedly are, they're all too recognisably human.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

The film was primarily shot on location, which gives it a heaviness, an historic weight, that dominates the movie much more than anything to do with character or plot does.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

This off-centre film looks like a paean to devotion ... and yet Hausner quietly and cleverly undermines this

April 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Hausner manages and controls our expectations in this superbly subtle, mysterious and brilliantly composed film.

March 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian

At the heart of the film is Sylvie Testud, one of the most beguiling actresses in the world, and whom I would happily pay to watch do nothing more than sleep for 24 hours.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A film featuring the kind of compelling, textured female character that most serious Hollywood actresses would trade at least a decade's worth of Botox to get their claws into.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

It's beautifully shot, nicely acted and about as dry as comedies get. In fact, it's so dry it might not be a comedy at all.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

This film is both good and powerful. It saves the God debate, still intact, for another round. It is as magically, richly ambivalent as life itself.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A cucumber-cool satire which views the poetry and passion of spiritual faith through a prism of rigid bureaucracy and ruthless logic.

March 25, 2010
Little White Lies

This is meticulously made, knowingly played and disconcertingly subversive.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Hausner subtly sketches in the characters involved -- the pilgrims, the carers, the bemused but conscientious resident priest -- and the tensions and jealousies that thrive in Lourdes' hothouse atmosphere, without ever showing her hand.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This is as much a subversive black comedy as a reverential treatise on spirituality.

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Lourdes

Destined to be misunderstood it seems, Lourdes - a film about a young woman in a wheelchair, paralysed with MS embarking on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, the holy retreat in the southwest of France that many believe to be a place of miracle healing after a visitation of Mary to a local many years ago - to be a film about religion (Christianity), faith, the existence of God and the possibility of miracles. It's not though, that's just a narrative to uphold what the film is really about, people (although obviously faith is explored but in the context of the human condition rather than as in religious/catholic faith). Every human emotional trait is explored, and quite wonderfully so. It's subtle and accurate but never preachy, pompous or pretentious. It is also my favourite film of the year/decade so far. Jessica Hausner is a director I'm definitely going to be looking out for and Sylvie Testud is a wonderful actress who I'm equally on oar of. I could write so much more but I'm not going to, do yourself a favour and just go see it asap!
April 14, 2010

Super Reviewer

I saw this at the Cleveland International Film Fest. It reminded me a bit of Fellini's Nights of Cabiria especially with its presentation of Catholic rituals.

Sylvie Testud does a wonderful job in portraying Christine as a real person with real depth. But there is a great cast of characters surrounding her. I found that the movie is really about how the whole group of pilgrims seeking healing and the red cross helpers react to Christine and the miracle promising site of Lourdes. The movie is slowly paced. Sometimes the camera lingering over the landscape or faces that are still and quiet seems a bit much. But when it lingers on the religious ceremonies and holy places it reveals the repetition and sometimes meaninglessness of these old traditions. People put so much hope in them anyways. I think that this movie was made in a way though that will let believers continue to believe and non-believers continue to doubt. It is ambiguous. I liked some of the advice the head priest and the head lady of the red cross gave a couple times though I disagreed with their assuming that all miracles and personal changes are a result of faith in God, Jesus, or Mother Mary. I liked hearing the doctors' scientific explanation for the roller coaster ebbing and flowing of multiple sclerosis symptoms. I liked the questions the two single middle aged ladies asked throughout as they try to make sense of it all.
March 26, 2010

Super Reviewer

"Lourdes" is a disarming rumination on the nature of faith that maintains a documentaty like distance in observing a group of pilgrims at Lourdes, starting with them arriving for a meal. Their leader Cecile(Elina Lowensohn) informs that since they have had such a long journey that day, they will wait until tomorrow to move onto the grotto and that a prize will be awarded to whoever is the best pilgrim. Actually preferring the cultural sites, Christine(Sylvie Testud) is paralyzed by multiple sclerosis and needs help even to eat and get into bed and feels life is passing her by. These tours are the only way for her to get out of the house.

Lourdes is renowned for its miracles but there is a great deal of skepticism given to any reported. Why some people, and not others? The official line is hedging its bets, wanting to cure the soul, not the body.(Whether they enjoy the idea of the sick suffering is a matter for debate.) On the one hand, the city needs the idea of miracles to drive the tourist business and sell souvenirs. On the other, what would happen if everybody were cured, since there is such a large industry formed around the caretakers?
February 28, 2010
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A beautifully subtle lead performance from Sylvie Testud truly gifts this unusual and enigmatic film that can be read a multitude of ways (undoubtedly depending on the viewers own spirituality and/or religious beliefs), even to the point where it becomes unclassifiable (drama, black comedy, satire).
February 28, 2013

Super Reviewer

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