The Little Hours: One of The Most Hysterical Films of 2017

Kate Micucci as Genevra, Alison Brie as Alessandra, and Aubrey Plaza as Fernanda. Courtesy of Gunpowder & Sky.

The Little Hours returned to Chicago two months after its appearance in the Chicago Critics Film Festival and is one of the funniest movies of the year.  Writer/Director Jeff Baena and star Aubrey Plaza were on hand for a Q&A session at two of screenings this weekend.

Written for the screen and directed by Baena, the film stars Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Jemima Kirke, Lauren Weedman, Nick Offerman, Paul Reiser, Adam Pally, Paul Weitz, and Jon Gabrus.  The film is based on Boccaccio’s Black Plague-era classic The Decameron.  It’s been a project on Baena’s mind ever since he was in college and minored in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

The Little Hours serves as a great opportunity to show your support for independent film.  It’s a small indie that made its world premiere earlier this year at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.  If it doesn’t come to your hometown theater, don’t be afraid to nail this one down on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Video, or wherever you tend to watch movies from your couch.  I didn’t have the chance to see The Little Hours during the CCFF otherwise it would have definitely been in my top films of the year.

Set in 1347 at a convent filmed on location in Northwest Tuscany, nuns Alessandra (Brie), Fernanda (Plaza), and Ginevra (Micucci) serve up a usual routine, be it spying on each other or going after the convent’s laborer until the point in which he feels the need to quit once and for all.

This leads Father Tommasso (Reilly) to bring in Massetto (Franco) as his replacement.  Massetto doesn’t really have anywhere else he can go.  His previous boss (Offerman) forces him into hiding at Tommasso’s suggestion, he plays the role of a deaf mute.  It seems as if its for the best so as to discourage the aforementioned nuns from going after him but that idea goes out the window rather quickly.  If it’s not Alessandra, it’s Fernanda or Ginevra.  Eventually, his cover gets blown and another person (Armisen) leads some sort of tribunal to listen to what everyone has to say.

While the younger nuns are displaying their horniness, it’s Tommasso and Sister Marea, the Mother Superior (Shannon) who are having an affair of their own.

It’s a laugh-out-loud comedy but not in the sense that one could expect from Mel Brooks or Monty Python–no strangers to comedies set during historical time periods.  While the cast has the opportunity to largely improvise from a 25-page scripted outline, they use a lot of today’s language but it only adds to the comedy.

Gunpowder & Sky opened up The Little Hours with a limited release on June 30, 2017.  It’s playing in Chicago at the Music Box Theatre and it could be there for a week, maybe even two weeks–with Dunkirk opening on Friday, it’s really hard to predict what will happen.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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