Every once in a long while, a movie comes along that touches you on some visceral and unexpected level. For me, that movie is Saint Frances.
Kelly O’Sullivan, who wrote the beautiful screenplay, stars as Bridget, a lost thirtysomething year old spending a summer as a nanny to six-year-old Franny (played to perfection by Ramona Edith Williams).
There is so much I love about this movie. Let me count some of the ways:
I love that when Bridget decides to have an abortion after getting pregnant by her very sweet boyfriend, Jace (Max Lipchitz) – who she’s afraid to commit to – there’s no big ethical dilemma and she never changes her mind. She doesn’t want a baby, she wants an abortion, it’s her body, period the end.
Speaking of periods, I love that, at the beginning of the movie, Bridget gets her period in bed with Jace. They wake up to bloody sheets, which are talked about and washed, no big deal. There are lots of other period/abortion bloody moments in the movie because guess what? Being a woman is messy and involves a lot of blood.
I love that Franny’s parents are a bi-racial, lesbian couple who are not perfect, who share the same issues as any heterosexual married couple, yet who are a shining example of the matriarchy and who welcome Bridget into their home with love and warmth. They have a new baby, and are struggling with very real post-partum depression, another subject that’s not often addressed openly.
I love the relationship between Bridget and Franny, and the way, despite a rocky start, they fiercely protect and empower each other. “I’m proud of you,” Franny tells her, in a poignant out of the mouths of babes scene. “You try even when you’re scared.” This validation is just what Bridget needs.
I could go on and on but you should experience Saint Frances yourself. You might even have a revelation or two. I would love that.