Je vous salue, Marie (Hail Mary)
Reviewed by May 26th, 2006

This 1985 Godard film’s DVD case bears the line, “One of the most controversial films of all time!” and upon viewing it, it really didn’t live up to the hype, though I understand why the Catholic church didn’t like it. Mary is a high school girl who plays basketball and helps at her father’s gas station. Joseph is a taxi driver who is in love with Mary and wants to marry her, but is understandably distressed when he learns that she is pregnant though the couple has never had sex. They eventually split up for a while, and we view other seemingly random crap like a love affair between a girl named Eva and an unnamed man, Mary and Joseph reading to themselves at length, rambling monologues about life having come from outer space, and a lot of closeups of Myriem Roussel’s pubic hair.

All of this might be amusing in theory, and I think Godard’s stuff is fun sometimes, but this really comes off as pretentious nonsense and intellectual wankery. Mary wonders if the soul has a body or the body has a soul; she doesn’t want to ever have sex with or even kiss her husband, and gives long internal monologues on her reasons for this; everyone is painfully unhappy and it moves very slowly. The only part that entertained me was really where Mary is in a car applying lipstick and for no reason, a stranger looks at her and says, “Je vous salue, Marie…” It’s an interesting idea, trying to set the immaculate conception in modern times, but as we all know, it doesn’t work that way.

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