Paul Verhoeven, the eccentric Dutch director of RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Starship Troopers, and Elle, has made an erotic lesbian nun movie. It’s about time. Benedetta stars Virginie Efira as Benedetta Carlini, a real-life nun (she even has her own Wikipedia page where she’s described as “a Catholic mystic and lesbian nun” — the OG girlboss) who Catches Feelings for another nun. We’ve all been there.
Benedetta premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where it was greeted with positive reviews (and tweets about a Virgin Mary dildo). “If Benedetta is a joke that Verhoeven is in on, and that is designed to play to those in on it too, we can at least be thankful that it’s a good joke — not that there’s anyone up there to be thankful to,” critic Jessica Kiang wrote for The Playlist.
Here’s the official plot synopsis:
A 17th-century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She is assisted by a companion, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair. Based on Judith C. Brown’s Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy.
Benedetta, which also stars Charlotte Rampling, Lambert Wilson, Daphne Patakia, Olivier Rabourdin, and Herve Pierre, opens on December 3.