Monday Movie: Household Saints
Every Monday, we’ll recommend a movie. It could be a classic, an overlooked recent treasure, an unfairly maligned personal favorite or whatever the hell we feel like.
Catholicism in America has an inescapably old-world vibe, especially on film. It’s the religion of early twentieth century immigrants (The Godfather Part II) or of their descendants still tied to that East Coast, working class history (Rescue Me). Nancy Savoca’s Household Saints sharply and sometimes joyfully addresses that reputation, blending quasi-outdated mysticism with a slightly postmodern take on domesticity and emerging with a sort of magical realism. It’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the Sundance generation. Saints takes a look at three generations of an Italian-American family. Grandmother Carmela (Judith Malina) is the proudly unassimilated connection to the home country. Her son Joseph (Vincent D’Onofrio) and his wife Catherin (Tracy Ullman) are the secularized middle class that represent both the greatest hopes and deepest fears of their immigrant parents. Their daughter, Teresa (Lily Taylor), is the curve ball. The should-be baby-boomer hippie is instead determined to become a nun. That is, until she strikes up a romance with the similarly devout Leonard (Michael Imperioli). With a cast that includes the great Illeana Dougleas and underrated character actor Sebastian Roché (Fringe, A Walk Among the Tombstones) as Jesus Christ himself, Household Saints is an inexplicably forgotten gem ripe for rediscovery.