The Little Hours (2017)
July 17, 2017 7:31 AM - Subscribe

The Little Hours, the only movie currently in theaters based on the Decameron and starring Audrey Plaza and Alison Brie, depicts a young servant in 14th century Italy who flees his master and winds up at a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns.

Featuring Fred Armisen as the voice of reason in a surprising Prince Valiant wig, among others. Dave Franco, as the ingenue/MacGuffin, is pretty much blank except for all the hot nun action. If anyone wants to explain the donkey sub-sub-plot, though, I would like to understand it. (Why is she taking the donkey out?)
posted by chesty_a_arthur (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Not playing anywhere near me, unfortunately, as I have a great need to see this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:00 AM on July 17, 2017

Just saw this yesterday. It's hilarious. Only learned afterwords that all the dialogue was improvised, and I have to say I think they did a really great job with that because it didn't feel that way. I mean, there were moments that felt like "yeah, they just improved that line" but overall it felt nicely written.

The donkey - Sister Fernanda was using "the donkey got out" as an excuse to be out at night meeting her witch friend. The mother superior is doing the same thing in the last scene, to meet with Father Tommasso. They're supposed to be inside all night because they're nuns, so "the donkey escaped so I had to go get him" is a cover story.
posted by dnash at 8:04 AM on July 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Considering the talent involved, I went in with high expectations. I am a fan of pretty much everyone in that cast. Unfortunately, I was bored from beginning to end and couldn't wait for it to finish. I didn't laugh once. I smiled at a gag involving a turtle.

The novelty of hearing nuns use the f-word and seeing them act crazy would have worked better with lesser know faces. It just feels like Aubrey Plaza's character from Parks & Rec wearing a nun outfit.

I liked the trailer. The trailer is funny. The jokes work better when condensed together instead of being spread out over long stretches of nothing.
posted by exolstice at 7:18 AM on July 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

It just feels like Aubrey Plaza's character from Parks & Rec wearing a nun outfit.

This has been the problem with almost every Aubrey Plaza role. Even when she's on Criminal Minds, she's still basically April Ludgate.

Dunno how much of that is a lack of range versus casting directors actively seeking her out to keep playing the same character all the time.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:23 AM on July 18, 2017

....I have a special relationship with The Decameron. One primarily anchored in the plots, so this isn't a case of "lo the lovely Italian poetry", but I love the stories themselves, as they are great stories; delightfully bawdy and a tetch feminist (at least for the 14th century).

Will I hate this?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on July 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

they are great stories; delightfully bawdy and a tetch feminist

I'd say watch the trailer and you can see what the tone of the humor is like, and whether or not that's to your taste. But speaking for myself "delightfully bawdy and a tetch feminist" is pretty much exactly what I got from the movie.
posted by dnash at 12:37 PM on July 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Seconded dnash. It's not a masterpiece but it strikes me as true to the spirit of the Decameron I've read (in translation and whatever.) I particularly enjoyed not so much the nun's liberal cursing as the casual tone throughout. So many films, even ones that aren't dumb, about the past have people speaking without contractions, or without slang, or just being weirdly formal, but there's no reason to think that crabby nuns doing an unfair amount of someone else's washing (SORRY SPOILER THERE IS LAUNDRY IT IS UNFAIRLY DISTRIBUTED) would be like "prithee, this washing is not to my liking," instead of "ugh, this is bullshit." Yay for bullshit.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:31 AM on July 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

I enjoyed this enormously. It reminded me that historically nuns were usually not pious but rather were something more like reform school inmates. Families sent their unruly daughters -- those who were sexually active especially -- to convents to straighten them out. Yes, and I agree with chesty_a_arthur about the dialogue. The Decameron was told in contemporary vernacular and so this movie is told in contemporary vernacular. To use period language would have made it into more of an academic exercise, instead of having the immediacy of everyday speech.
posted by chrchr at 2:00 PM on July 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

Just popped in to say that as of May 2018, this movie is streaming on Amazon Prime in the USA. If you didn't get a chance to see it, and you have Prime Membership, you can watch it now.
posted by seasparrow at 8:37 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I thought it was hilarious.
posted by grouse at 8:34 AM on July 13, 2019

Probably the most charming film I've ever seen in which one character forces another to have sex at knifepoint. Twice. What it reminded me of was what Terry Jones and Michael Palin used to do.
posted by Grangousier at 3:28 PM on August 3, 2019

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