The Little Hours

At this point, satirizing the sexual hypocrisy of the Catholic church is like shooting fish in a barrel, but at least Jeff Baena, writer and director of The Little Hours, does it with an antique firearm. Adapting two tales from the Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th-century compendium of caustic stories, Baena steers a cast of familiar faces—John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Paul Reiser, Fred Armisen—through a period-dress but colloquially spoken farce about a cloister of lascivious nuns and their randy gardener. When the film works, it’s hilarious; when it doesn’t, it’s just another snarky indie comedy with too many Saturday Night Live alums. But Baena deserves credit just for dipping into the Decameron, which opened Italian literature to a more tolerant view of human impulse and, notably, to women characters who were forceful, self-aware, and possessed of their own strong desires. Continue reading >>