Starring: Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Kate Micucci
Director: Jeff Baena
Running Time: 90 mins
The Little Hours is an American film about a convent in 14th century Italy, and the chaos that unfolds when an attractive young man arrives as a handyman, setting a number of the young nuns wild.
I really enjoyed this movie. As simple and potentially quick-wearing at its premise of a bunch of foul-mouthed nuns seems, The Little Hours is a film filled with great humour, hilarious performances, and the odd bit of great (albeit extremely obscure) religious and historical satire, making it a fun-loving and thoroughly satisfying joy to watch throughout.
While it isn’t quite a laugh-out-loud masterpiece from beginning to end, I’d definitely put The Little Hours as one of the real hidden gems of comedy in recent years, simply because it finds a brilliant between easy, funny mainstream comedy and a hugely obscure setting that’s normally totally alien to big screen comedy in the modern day.
With the exception of a few big flops in the past decade, there really haven’t been any comedies to take on the medieval world, let alone setting their story in a location as seemingly joyless as a convent in 14th century Italy.
And yet, it works beautifully in The Little Hours, with the film finding time for that fun brand of comedy while also daring to find humour in a range of other spheres, with moments of real dark, unsettling comedy and incredibly obscure satire of 14th century history being brilliantly sprinkled throughout.
So, it’s fun to see young nuns going beserk with either juvenile, almost rabid behaviour upon the arrival of an attractive man in their convent, but as that joke is likely to wear thin fairly quickly, the film cleverly spreads its comedic focus out. Along with the nuns, then, you have the farcical administration of the convent by the local priest, the bizarre rantings of a noble about some sort of Guelph conspiracy against him (that’s when obscure historical knowledge will really come in handy), and the awkward encounters that poor Dave Franco finds himself in with the ladies of the convent.
As a result, there really is a lot to laugh at with The Little Hours, and while its extreme obscurity may seem a little difficult to get to grips with first, the clever writing and impressive balance between sillier and stranger humour is more than enough to keep you entertained throughout, something that very few comedies manage to get really right.
And on top of that, you’ve got an enormously funny cast that features a number of comedy stars, with Aubrey Plaza in her element as one of the nuns, Dave Franco a hugely likable delight, John C. Reilly a real surprise as the bumbling father of the convent, and Alison Brie, Kate Micucci, Molly Shannon and a stand-out cameo from Nick Offerman all proving brilliant fun to watch too.
In the end, I had a great time with The Little Hours. A bizarre, obscure comedy that shouldn’t really work based on modern trends, the film is filled to the brim with clever and fun humour throughout, with brilliant writing that makes for both an easy-going, funny watch and one with the satisfaction of something really fresh and different at the same time, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6 overall.