Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen Reviews

Page 2 of 3
May 13, 2011
This movie is wonderful in many ways, the acting and the setting/atmosphere being the two key components contributing to the "wow" factor. The story moved slowly, it ended anticlimactically, and at times the action seemed slowed down for no apparent reason. Even still, the more important thing is the beautiful message it carries about gender roles before the eyes of God (or the differing views of the Divine). Hildegard was a woman who wasn't afraid to challenge the misogynistic bureaucracy of the religion to which she vowed to adhere; deep inside her soul, she won out in the end.
May 1, 2011
I liked it very much and thought all performers were chosen perfectly. The story was very intriguing and well presented.
½ April 1, 2011
I have always been a fan of director Margarethe von Trotta since I discovered her earlier works at a film festival nearly thirty years ago. She's created a slew of characters, most often based onreal -life women, who've been determined, defiant and way ahead of their times, most commonly fighting some false system of government or the injustice of humanity, against all odds. Yes they more often than not end up as sacrificial lambs. It's been a winning if not depressing formula that has mostly worked for von Trotta over the past four decades. And true, it's been a while since her last feature film, having mostly worked for European television throughout the last years. So one would expect this leading auteur of what was once the burgeoning New German Cinema [along with Wenders, Fassbinder and her ex-husband, TIN DRUM director Volker Schlondorff] to make a heady comeback. That she does not entirely succeed is unfortunate but this is not to say that VISION is without its virtues of which there are plenty. A fierce performance by von Trotta's stalwart collaborator Barbara Sukowa is delivered as expected but it's a rebelious cold facade that we witness rather than the embracing warmth you'd expect from a portrayal of nun whose self proclaimed mystical powers both enraged and enregized and at times even enhanced the lives around her. The film's main flaw is that it opts to forego the origins of its protagonist altogther and not explain what's brought her to this point of illumination by jumping forward by thirty years right after its initial pre-title set-up. Which means we get to witness the aspiring contributions of a woman who's challenged the church by becoming an inspirational leader to many women of the clothes [and a few ardent men too] who later became a physician, scientist, poet, playwright [name it, she's accomplished it] in the 12th century no less, claiming her awakening came via a message from God which mo hastivated her efforts since childhood, to spread the word. Unfortunately a pivotal aspect of the movie that we never get to see but one that could have helped the film build up much more momentum. As such, there's conflict but little tension in what we do see. By the end we get to know a woman misunderstood putting on a iron-willed facade which upsets a clergy of men and enlights a lot of the women. Sadly not much different than, let's say, MADE IN DAGENHAM but with a nun's habit on.
March 20, 2011
Interesting period piece. Story slow. Had to poke myself a couple times.
March 17, 2011
It really didn't grab me like I wish it would have, but it's stiill fair to say that neither Von Trotta nor Sukowa have lost their touch. It's an interesting and respectable film, but perhaps not as provocative (nor memorable?) as I hoped.
March 5, 2011
An inspiring and powerful story, made me to read and know more about Hildegard von Bingen
January 31, 2011
As some of you know I did a portrait of Hildegard Von Bingen and have been fascinated with her music and her life. Am hoping we will show this here in Nyack at Rivertown Film, but if you are not here check it out on Netflix.
January 29, 2011
Very well done biography of a woman ahead of her times and remembered throughout history.
January 16, 2011
Careful attention is payed to the details of the medieval monastic life in this religious bio-pic that is refreshing in that none of the monks are homicidal or homosexual. Sukowa brings considerable dimension to the titular role as von Bingen is seen as being pious but not perfect. Unlike say the Joan of Arc movies, the visions do not form a vital visual element of this film, but instead the focus is on the politics of a woman cleric butting heads with her male counterparts. The movie's melodramas are rooted in the tension between male versus female authority, especially in the subplot involving a nun who becomes pregnant within the order. Being mostly set in the interiors of the various abbeys, the movie does inevitably suffer from a sense of dull claustrophobia that is only broken when the von Bingen wins her right to move her order to their own abbey. The movie offers many tantalizing bits of the nun's extraordinary vision for the religious life including her writings and her search for medical knowledge. The movie does disappoint with its finale, leaving the audience with nothing about her final years. Nonetheless, this movie is a good choice for anyone looking for a non-exploitative look at what the religious life was like in the 12th Century.
January 13, 2011
Forgivably dry, but unforgivably shallow, this partial biography doesn't extend its reaches out into any recognizable profundity - quite unlike the actions of Hildegard von Bingen herself. This simple depiction of her life through action doesn't paint a clear picture of her impact and statement in either her monastical or literal existence. The film suffers from annoying stylistic and plot repetitions, drudge dialogue, and excessive dramatization, and thus steers away from even an expressionist composure of von Bingen's life and the impact that it's had on others. It's failure to cohere in either a religious or secular fashion is product only of the film's deficiency as a mechanism for delivering a message - one that's well worth delivering.
January 13, 2011
Forgivably dry, but unforgivably shallow, this partial biography doesn't extend its reaches out into any recognizable profundity - quite unlike the actions of Hildegard von Bingen herself. This simple depiction of her life through action doesn't paint a clear picture of her impact and statement in either her monastical or literal existence. The film suffers from annoying stylistic and plot repetitions, drudge dialogue, and excessive dramatization, and thus steers away from even an expressionist composure of von Bingen's life and the impact that it's had on others. It's failure to cohere in either a religious or secular fashion is product only of the film's deficiency as a mechanism for delivering a message - one well worth delivering.
½ January 11, 2011
A good film, flawed yet compelling about a good woman who was both compelling and flawed.
January 10, 2011
what an amazin movie. Was spellbounded by the story and great acting. This is a must must see.
January 9, 2011
I was familiar with this nun because of her music...the film concentrated more on her feministic and healing attributes.....I wanted more music......
½ December 27, 2010
Yeah, this is the one with the nun...see it for a thoughtful and thought-provoking portrait of a trend-setting visionary. Top-notch acting and direction.
December 20, 2010
Nice movie about her life and commitment to God...
December 11, 2010
Quick Review:

6.5/10.

It's a rare thing to witness in modern American culture: a film that attempts to be respectful of a nun who lived in the early 1000's A.D., and who claimed to receive messages from God. Hildegard von Bingen was certainly no ordinary woman, a great leader of her fellow Sisters in Christ, as well as a paragon of ancient Christian mysticism she was a true leader. Unfortunately, this film doesn't do her life justice, nor will it convince many people of her sincerity rather than the probability of her lunacy.

Margarethe von Trotta's screenplay is faithful to key events in the life of Mother Hildegard, but unfortunately convoluted. The images and plot devices on screen weave in and out of one another without a consistent through-line and without artistic restraint, lending for an ultimately sloppy delivery of an otherwise complete story of her life, from birth to death.
Even in other areas this film confused me, as half of the scenes were filmed beautifully, with gorgeous landscape shots and tactful camera angles to emphasize emotion and even a sense of Gregorian spirituality in ancient Christendom. But then the other half of the film contained almost laughably messy shots, fast-zooms, shaky camerawork, etc.
This, of course, visually caused a downfall to otherwise beautiful set and costume design. The art direction in "Vision" was truly beautiful, with close attention to period-wary detail as well as wholesomely natural surroundings, reflecting Hildegard's own love of nature itself.
Barbara Sukowa shines as Hildegard von Bingen, clearly an experienced and commanding German actress. She makes for a rather inspiring-looking leader, with her piercing gaze, her surefire delivery of lines, and the graceful poise with which she went about her daily duties as magistra to a cloister of soon-to-be-nuns.

In the end, an unusual script and uneven camera work (as well as the glorification of someone who most likely had schizophrenia) lead to an otherwise well-made film feeling more messy than inspirational. Not to mention the strange hollowness that seems to pervade a story that is meant to be spiritually rich. The true redeeming qualities of this somewhat disappointing but still partially well-constructed work, are the rare moments of visual beauty, and Sukowa's commanding performance.
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2010
Biopic on the life of the fascinating 12th century Bendectine nun who saw visions of God and was also a composer, philosopher, polymath, and a strong-willed woman who often butted heads with the Church's male hierarchy. Amazing in it's ability to draw you into its now alien world and get you involved with clerical politics and the slow, quiet rhythms of cloistered life.
Page 2 of 3