When I first viewed the red band trailer for The Little Hours it was full of nuns speaking profanities, exploring their sexuality, and had an impressive cast of comedic actors (including Alison Brie, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Nick Offerman, and John C. Reilly). So I immediately couldn’t wait to see it. The film is inspired by a couple of tales out of the 14th century book The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. I say “inspired” since I haven’t read The Decameron and I’m pretty sure it’s not laced with the numerous F-bombs that this movie has. All I can say is that this movie did not disappoint, and I felt my expectations were met. Now if you’re someone who’s easily offended by crude humor that takes place within the confines of a convent, then maybe this film isn’t for you.
The story takes place in the 1300s amidst a tranquil country setting. Alessandra (Brie) is a nun sent to live at the convent by her father, and she’s hoping he can soon marry her off so she can leave. Unfortunately she’s still stuck there, and she spends her days feeling melancholy while she does embroidery. Nuns Genevra and Fernanda (Micucci and Plaza) get stuck doing the more labored chores such as hand washing the laundry and cleaning the cellar which makes them resent Alessandra since she avoids any hard labor. They also lash out at the gardener, being threatening and throwing turnips at him until he’s fed up and leaves. Meanwhile, at a nearby castle, Massetto (Dave Franco), a servant, is caught sleeping with the wife of his master, Lord Bruno (Nick Offerman) and runs away in fear of his life. He encounters Father Tommasso (Reilly), who’s drunk and has had an accident with his donkey-driven cart full of Alessandra’s embroidery that he was going to sell at the market. Massetto helps him get his cart back in shape and Tommasso offers to bring him back to the convent to replace the former gardener since he has no place to stay. He also tells Massetto to pretend to be a deaf mute in the hopes of avoiding any further conflict considering the nuns’ temperament. But Massetto’s presence only seems to arouse the three nuns, and they each start using him to explore their own sexuality.
The film just continues to get more crazy and hilarious, as the number of sins committed by a majority of the characters continue to pile up. I was laughing pretty hard throughout most of it. Micucci especially steals the show with her character who spies on her fellow nuns and reports their misconduct only to end up committing the worst sins of all (including being a Jew). What I also enjoyed was the contrast between the lush settings and the middle-ages inspired soundtrack with modern day crudeness and language. It’s filmed as though it could be a serious movie, until someone opens their mouth and then craziness pours out of it.
If you’re already a fan of the comedic actors in this film, then this will be right up your alley. It’s not a film I could recommend to anybody because of it’s contents, but it’s enough of an outrageous and intelligent comedy that I think it’s worth a look.