Lourdes (2010)




Critic Consensus: 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.

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.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Jessica Hausner
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 12, 2010
Palisades Tartan - Official Site


as Christine

as Mrs. Hartl

as Father Nigl

as Mrs. Huber

as Mrs. Spor

as Jean-Pierre Bely

as Mr. Hruby

as Mr. Oliveti

as Mr. Oliveti

as Mrs. Oliveti

as Mother

as Daughter
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Lourdes

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (10)

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

Full Review… | August 13, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
Top 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?

Full Review… | April 1, 2010
Seattle Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 25, 2010
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 3, 2010
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

[Jessica Hausner's] thought experiment is an emotionally potent one.

Full Review… | September 24, 2014
Film Comment Magazine

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.

Full Review… | June 12, 2012

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!

Anthony Lawrie

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.

Byron Brubaker

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?

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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