“Alice Diop’s ‘Saint Omer’ Is a Harrowing Look at Ambivalent Motherhood”

One cannot imagine the soul-grinding crime that drives the plot in Alice Diop’s first fiction movie, which is probably why she stitched it together out of the pieces of a real-life court case. This is not a film for the faint of heart. In fact, against other 2022* releases, I would saint Saint Omer churned my guts as much as Terrifier 2, which, yes, is a bizarre comment to make, but also holds true for me personally as a guy who is vulnerable to morbid dramas involving child death (the former) and as a guy who likes watching awful things happen to good people in horror movies but also has pressure points for that kind of thing (the latter).

I do not know if that sentence tracks, and I don’t really mind if not, because I’m here to tell you that my review of Saint Omer is published at Paste Magazine, so go there.

*Once again, I am annoyed by release date shenanigans. For whatever reason, a handful of critics felt it correct to put this movie on their 2022 best-of lists, even though there’s no 2022 official theatrical release date provided by IMDB, which means whatever release it did get was certainly an awards-qualifying release. The wide release landed earlier this month. Therefore, it’s a 2023 movie, but let me just stick as the basis for comparison for this one particular point I’m making.


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