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Film / The Little Hours

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A 2017 comedy film set in an Anachronism Stew version of 14th century Italy, loosely adapted from Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron. It was written for the screen and directed by Jeff Baena.

The film is directed by Jeff Baena and featuring an All-Star Cast including Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Aubrey Plaza, Kate Micucci, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman, and Fred Armisen.

The Little Hours contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Father Tommasso is drunk in several of his scenes, and even drops the fabrics he is supposed to sell in town into the river because he was drunk on sacramental wine.
  • The Atoner: Massetto tries to do penance for adultery and sodomy while at the convent. It doesn't last long however as he's surrounded by lustful young nuns.
  • Casting Gag: Alison Brie, who's Jewish, uses "Jew" as an insult toward someone, playing an Italian nun in the 1300s.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What Lord Bruno plans to inflict on Massetto for sleeping with his wife. He even has a scene describing the various torture methods the latter has to look forward to.
  • Corrupt Church: Aside from Bishop Bartolomeo, all of the clergy portrayed are breaking their vows by having sex quite frequently.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: "Jew" is used as an insult, and the sexual behavior of the characters (which, aside from the adultery, would now be largely considered if not innocuous then at least expected for modern Westerners) instead gets treated as gravely wrong, per authentic Catholic rules.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: At the nuns' trial, Bishop Bartolomeo notes that Fernanda is guilty both of laying with women and homosexuality, admitting it's the same thing, though they separate it.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Fernanda has sex with Ginevra (plus other women in the past, we learn), though she's also into Massetto (no matter what he thinks of the matter).
  • Failed a Spot Check: The old nun who goes into the room where Alessandra and Massetto are getting it on doesn't seem to notice at all, though her presence makes them stop.
  • Fanservice Extra: The background witches are all dancing around naked at the sabbat. Most of them are young, attractive women (though it's subverted in one case with a woman who's very much not).
  • Forceful Kiss: Massetto gets this multiple times from the nuns.
  • Groin Attack: Lord Bruno asks his goons to do this to Massetto for him.
    Bruno: Bring me his fucking balls.
  • Human Sacrifice: Massetto is staged for sacrifice after the witches' fertility ritual.
  • Informed Judaism: Ginevra abruptly reveals she's Jewish to Massetto, and then the other characters learn it too. No other sign is given, but it's justified as she's a nun (at least technically-it's invalid given she was never baptized). Why she went into a convent is never revealed.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Massetto was about to have sex with Alessandra, though they didn't manage it since another nun comes into the room.
  • Jerkass: Alessandra, Ginevra and Fernanda give the first gardener Lurco crap for no real reason. All he does is look at them in a friendly way and make conversation. They respond to this by insulting and even pummeling the poor guy.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Handsome young Masseto spends most of the movie in different states of undress. In-Universe, several of the nuns immediately start trying to have sex with him. Even an entire coven of witches.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ginevra dances around naked at the witches' sabbat, while Fernanda and Marta are shown topless there as well.
  • Naughty Nuns: All of the nuns in the movie. They get it on with men and also each other without any qualm.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Everyone. Lampshaded by several characters asking if Jemima Kirke's character is from another town, as she's the only Brit in the cast.
  • Nun Too Holy: The essential premise of the movie. The nuns in this movie swear, have sex, are rude, even violent, and even participate in a magic ritual in the woods at one point. And it's hillarious.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Massetto pretends to be deaf and mute.
  • Period Piece, Modern Language: The film looks like a 14th-century Italian convent period piece, but has contemporary dialogue.
  • Questionable Consent: While Masseto ultimately seems to enjoy the threesome he finds himself in with Fernanda and her friend, he was coerced into it. Later, the witches outright try to kill him after having sex with him in a fertility ritual.
  • Secret Relationship: Father Tommasso and Mother Marea are sleeping together.
  • Shown Their Work: The film actually has many accurate details regarding monastic life and humor of the Late Medieval era. Many nuns were indeed sent to convents unwillingly by their families, for education or because of poverty. As a result, some were pretty unenthusiastic at their life and didn't take it too seriously (e.g. having sex with men or each other). The chores which they're shown doing are the kind of things nuns would really do. Bawdy humor with nuns, priests or monks was very common-what we see in the film is actually pretty mild compared with many works then, and that includes The Decameron that inspired it as well. The main differences of course are the dialogue, a Jewish woman being a nun, and the witches' sabbath (which wasn't even a trope until centuries later) but otherwise it's pretty authentic.
  • Those Two Guys: Bruno's guards, Paolo and Gregorio, who even engage in Seinfeldian Conversation at one point.