The Baby of Mâcon (1993)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The Baby of Macon is a sumptuous-looking but ultimately shallow tale of manipulation, greed, and religious fanaticism set in Peter Greenaway's favorite, the 17th century. In the city of Macon, an ugly woman suddenly bears a beautiful, healthy baby. Her fellow citizens perceive it as a wonder, with rumors circulating that she could not be the real mother of the child. Her 18-year-old virginal daughter (Julia Ormond) tries to use the situation, claiming that the baby is her own and was born as a result of an immaculate conception. The citizens start to worship the baby and the outraged Roman Catholic Church finally intervenes. Aiming at disclosure of the whole Christian mythology, which, according to Greenaway, always served to manipulate people, The Baby of Macon lacks passion or commitment. Even the much publicized violence, including an unseen multiple rape and the onscreen dismemberment of the baby, seems routine and uninspired rather than shocking. ~ Yuri German, Rovi
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Julia Ormond
as The Daughter
Ralph Fiennes
as The Bishop's Son
Philip Stone
as The Bishop
Jonathan Lacey
as Cosimo Medici
Don Henderson
as The Father Confessor
Jeff Nuttall
as The Major Domo
Anna Nieland
as Wet Nurse
Frank Egerton
as Cantor
Celia Gregory
as Mother Superior
Tony Vogel
as Father
Richard Blair
as Soldier
Dennis Rudge
as Entourage Servant
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Baby of Mâcon

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

I watched it to the end out of a sense of duty, not with pleasure or any hope of edification.

Full Review… | January 29, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | April 4, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

It's unpleasant to view, but is not without many rewards if you can be open-minded and sit through its anti-religious views of the nativity.

Full Review… | January 11, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 21, 2010
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Audience Reviews for The Baby of Mâcon

A very angry and experimental film from Peter Greenaway. Offensive and far too graphic, there is a good deal of artistry here. Just be warned. Not for all tastes.

Matty Stanfield
Matty Stanfield

Stunning, amazing, magnificent, stupendous, revelatory... there is no word for how great this film actually is. Greenaway's best (which is saying something), and one of the most visually and thematically stunning films I've ever seen. Watch.

Steve Joseph
Steve Joseph

Simple gratitude for Peter after watching this stunningly disturbing medieval drama that exploited the humanity, greed, sacrifice, morality, sex and violence. I have no seen a film that is as beautifully filmed as this one, the cinematography was beyond comprehension. The film is shot in the style of a play within a film, with lots of breaking the fourth wall through out the film. The story is complicated tale of basically the seven deadly sins: Lust, Sloth and Greed of the Daughter, Envy from the Church, Pride of the Son of Bishop, Wrath and Gluttony of the Villagers of Macon. The theme is really dark, but with the complementation of the use of lighting and colour of the costume, it was presented as a macabre satire of religions and the original sin. The script was splendid, every single line was crafted perfectly with so much subtext, and also acted quite superbly. The use of chorus in the film was significant, added a sense of surrealism but with some reference to the Greek tragic theatre. The music was great, created a mixed feeling for the viewers. Off course, the film has some absurd elements as well to shock the audience: The lifeless corpses that seemed out of place, real baby instead of a fake planned one and the slaughter of animals which made the film extremely controversial. The exploration of science and religion was a major conflict in the film, it made the viewers wonder that maybe neither can co-exist in harmony, by the copulation of these two ideas resulted in war and death. It's one of the greatest film that I've seen, but not recommended to everyone as it requires a huge amount of maturity and understanding of the graphic materials in the film.

Sylvester Kuo
Sylvester Kuo

Super Reviewer

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