Household Saints

Back in the 90’s, a promising Italian-American filmmaker named Nancy Savoca managed to put out three wonderful indie films before she relegated herself to the world of TV directing. Household Saints– her last- barely made a splash, and has never even come out on DVD. This wonderful and quirky story should have solidified Savoca’s place as one of America’s leading young directors- but whether sexism or economics is to blame, that never happened.

Starring the great Tracey Ullman and the equally great Lili Taylor, Household Saints is a funny and fresh look at three generations of Italian-American women and their relationship to both sex and religion. All of Savoca’s films deal with the raw, explosive differences (yet attractions) between women and men. With Household Saints, Savoca takes the character comedy into the realm of absurdist humor, satirizing her Italian peeps’ obsession with Catholicism. Ullman, a brilliant British character comic (in case ya didn’t know) does a great job as the Very-Italian Catherine- a naive young woman who gets “won in a card game,” gets pregnant, becomes a mom, and never quite gets the hang of life… or of the religion she’s supposed to revere.

Her daughter, Teresa, is something else entirely- even as a young girl, she is already obsessed with achieving sainthood. But of course, with puberty comes new experiences and awakenings, and Teresa (innocently played by Taylor) finds her salvation in an unexpected way. Household Saints is human comedy at its offbeat best.

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