Viridiana

1961

Viridiana

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 22

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,796
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Movie Info

A woman visits her rich uncle before taking her vows as a nun. When he dies, he leaves his estate to her and his son. She becomes a nun and opens up the estate to house some wretched derelicts. When the wretches nearly rape her, she rethinks her religious calling.

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Critic Reviews for Viridiana

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for Viridiana

  • Mar 22, 2016
    A classic tale that calls into question the whole notion of Christian charity in the light of pure human greed and lust.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 15, 2014
    While Buñuel's intent is to tear down the hypocrisies of religious piety, he actually allows his central character to have a real transformation rather than simply attack her beliefs . . . Which makes the satire all the more effective.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2013
    My dear readers, I am back (Well, let's just pretend that I do have some deeply-devoted few) and kicking again after some months of art film deprivation. Nevertheless, with my personal cinematic drive seemingly back in its groove (hopefully), I am then here to review and share my thoughts about "Viridiana", a film that marks my return, after the slightly numbing Academy Awards season and the draining toll inflicted by the academe, to the ever-loving cradle of what I really care about the most: world cinema. And to add a certain side idea, it's in fact the Lenten season, so my viewing of "Viridiana" is not at all random but is, in fact, of certain religious relevance, albeit a slightly irreverent one (I'm planning to rewatch "Life of Brian" within this week, by the way). Like majority of Luis Buñuel's creations, "Viridiana" is a comedic attack on Christianity and the bourgeoisie, but unlike his later, entirely elitist-lampooning satires like "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" and "The Phantom of Liberty", "Viridiana" was also able to have enough time to examine the utterly savage tendencies of the unfortunate ones (in simple yet sad terms, 'paupers') when given enough wings to flap away from their plights. And although they were shown in the film as a genuinely sympathetic lot, Buñuel has also characterized them with a sort of fragile loyalty towards the proverbial hands that feed them, which makes the whole 'pity' thing towards them more weirdly elevated yet at the same time increasingly discomforting. Honestly speaking, although Buñuel, for me, is certainly one of the boldest filmmakers there ever was, I always thought that the satirical nature of his films are always steeped in utter partiality (sans "Los Olvidados, of course); that is to say that he always solely attacks the populace of high society, and we love him for it. But surprisingly, "Viridiana" is a deeply refreshing exception. Although the film itself is a dominantly psychosexual meditation on emotional repression that's centered mainly on the characters of Don Jaime (Fernando Rey), the melancholic widower, and Viridiana (the luminous Silvia Pinal), the soon-to-be consecrated nun, it was still able to successfully pass as a deliciously unnerving social satire that's centered upon the utterly self-destructive nature of altruism. In this regard, I am of course talking about Viridiana's unconditional assistance of the beggars (she has brought them to his Uncle Jaime's house after an unexpected tragedy), which has, sadly, backfired for the worse. Buñuel, in this film, is not much a surrealist but more of a highly-fevered and imagery-conscious social commentator who knows who to poke with his patented 'dig' (tickling but painful) in the ribs. The perennially humorless Catholic Church, which has officially denounced the film, has proven to be such an easy target. But ultimately, what is "Viridiana" really all about? In a way, like Buñuel's later, more fetishistic "Belle de Jour", it is about the pains of sexual repression. But what makes "Viridiana" different is how it has tackled such an issue in a way that subtly pinpoints religious hypocrisy as the culprit as to why it pervades existence. Yet in the end, the film still has enough discoursing power left to highlight the fact that an attempt at carnality still isn't the answer. And in an ending that is both dark and innuendo-laden, it is slightly suggested that sex, in such a context, is nothing but a savage trap; a superficial card game; a painful punch line. Such is the sad, sad comedy of existence, as seen through the camera lens of the very bold Luis Buñuel.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2009
    Maybe because I didn't see this when it first arrived on the scene, I have to say that nearly 50 years later, it actually strikes me as dated and, in many ways trite. Of course in its day, I don't doubt that it was shockingly controversial, and who can knock anything that can tie Francisco Franco's undies in a knot. Worse yet for me, I wasn't raised a Jesuit, so I may be lacking in the kind of obsessive love-hate relationship intensity that is presented here in terms of Catholicism and Christianity in general. <p>I am, up front, a Christian, but I find the assault on Christianity to be pretty harmless, although moderately interesting. <p> What I don't see the critics talking about nearly as much, is the sexual perversity of the movie, which strikes a much louder chord with audiences of any time, I'm guessing. From the bizarre desire of an uncle for his niece, and the strange machinations to which he resorts in order to seduce her, to the menage a trois ending, I'd have to say if there's anything that's going to "entertain" a viewer today, this would be more likely. That one image of the maid biting the cousin's hand is surely as provocative, from a cinematic viewpoint, as any other image in the film<p>Sadly, the revolutionary quality of this film is lost on someone who may have read too many books and seen too many movies over the course of a lifetime.
    Lanning : Super Reviewer

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