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THE HOLY GIRL (LA NIÑA SANTA)

What You Need To Know:

THE HOLY GIRL, or LA NIÑA SANTA, is a movie from Argentina about a teenage girl, Amalia, who becomes infatuated with a middle-aged, married doctor who anonymously gropes her in a crowd. Amalia discovers that the doctor is attending a convention at her mother’s hotel, but she doesn’t know that the doctor has become interested in her mother. The doctor eventually catches Amalia spying on him at the hotel, but he fails to realize who her mother is until it’s too late. This whole situation sets off a chain reaction of imminent social catastrophe, but the movie stops short of revealing what happens when Dr. Jano’s immorality is exposed to the world.

After all this buildup, the anti-climactic ending to THE HOLY GIRL is disappointing. Also, the intentions of the director, Lucrecia Martel, are not clear in the movie, even after reading her own statements about them, which seem to be humanist. Although there are no explicit, graphic sex scenes, THE HOLY GIRL contains strong foul language, adult sexual themes, scenes of perverse lust, and a passionate homosexual kiss between two teenage girls. Also, the movie’s Christian references ultimately appear to be pointless.

Content:

(HH, AB, C, Ho, O, LLL, SS, NNN, A, D, M) Strong, but not always clear, humanist worldview with anti-biblical content that’s not always overt but which includes slight mockery of Christian teacher in a church class for a choir (two girls accuse her of French kissing somebody behind her back) and teenage protagonist appears to stray from her faith, as well as some positive Christian references in scenes where teenage girls in church choir sing and get instructing about picking a Christian vocation for their lives, but teenage protagonist and her friend seem to mock the young woman teacher, and teenage protagonist recites Catholic prayers about Jesus and the Virgin Mary, but she doesn’t seem particularly religious otherwise, and homosexual element where two teenage girls share a passionate lesbian kiss (there seems to be some homosexual tension on the part of one of the girls), and an occult element where a ghost story is told about a fatal traffic accident; one obscenity and three light profanities; no violence; strong sexual content such as adult man presses his body against a teenage girls buttocks two or three times, molested teenage girl becomes infatuated with her adult molester, lustful desires, married man kisses divorced woman but nothing else happens, teenager kiss on bed and teenage boy lies on top of girl but they stop when girl tells him she’s not ready for “pre-marital relations,” talk about minor character getting caught with girls, talk about women slipping in and out of doctor’s rooms at a convention, and teenage girls kiss passionately after some apparent homosexual tension between them; rear male nudity and brief but slightly obscured full male nudity when man accidentally falls off balcony and enters hotel room where women are sitting; alcohol use; smoking; and, mockery of another person and character secretly spies on another character to the point of sneaking into his hotel room and watching him sleep.

More Detail:

THE HOLY GIRL, or LA NIÑA SANTA, is a movie from Argentina that’s informally subtitled “The Temptation of Good – And the Evil It Causes.” This subtitle gives away the movie’s secular humanist intention, though the movie itself does not overtly attack Christianity in a way that’s very clear. Instead, the movie depicts a set of characters that are lost and helpless in the face of their sin.

In the story, a teenage girl named Amalia lives with her divorced mother, Helena, and her uncle, Freddy, in the run-down hotel that her family owns and runs. After choir rehearsals, Amalia gathers with her best friend, Josefina, in their church to get instruction in Christian vocation with other girls. The lives of these girls and their families intersect with those of a group of visiting ear, nose and throat doctors staying in the hotel for a medical convention.

One day, a balding, middle-aged, married doctor named Jano presses himself sexually against Amalia’s buttocks in a crowd watching a man play a theremin. A theremin is a kind of musical synthesizer that is played by waving one’s hands through an electronic field. Later, when she discovers that Dr. Jano is attending the convention, Amalia finds herself drawn to him and secretly spies on him without him always noticing. Jano does notice Amalia’s mother, Helena, however, and Helena notices him. Helena enjoys Jano’s attentions, but his marriage prevents them from acting on their burning lust to the point of sex (they eventually share a couple kisses but that’s it).

Meanwhile, Amalia confides in Josefina about her own lust for Dr. Jano. Apparently (though this is not clear), Amalia thinks her love can save Jano from sin somehow. Eventually, this whole situation sets off a chain reaction of imminent social catastrophe, but the movie stops short of revealing what happens when Dr. Jano’s immorality is exposed to the whole world.

After all this buildup, the anti-climactic ending to THE HOLY GIRL is disappointing. The last scene just shows Amalia and Josefina giggling in the hotel swimming pool while the other characters wait in the hotel just before Dr. Jano’s sins are about to be exposed.

The intentions of the director, Lucrecia Martel, whether humanist or not, are not clear in the movie, even after reading her own statements about them. In fact, the movie’s informal subtitle (“The Temptation of Good – And the Evil It Causes”) seems to be carried out in such a subtle way that it’s virtually undetectable. The only person who really talks about doing good is Amalia’s young Christian vocation teacher at her church. Amalia and her friend Josefina don’t seem to take the teacher seriously, and the movie doesn’t seem to take her seriously either.

Thus, the movie’s Christian references ultimately appear to be pointless. They’re just part of the Argentina society in which the characters move. Clearly, however, Dr. Jano feels guilty about his lust for Amalia and Amalia’s mother. He is also clearly fearful about his sexual harassment of Amalia being exposed. In fact, it is Josefina’s outraged mother, a minor character, who wants to expose Dr. Jano’s sexual harassment of Amalia when the mother finally hears about it from Josefina. If anything, the movie shows that, if you want to cheat on your wife, or seduce an underage teenage girl, you better accept the fact that you probably will be found out eventually. So, if you don’t want to suffer the consequences of being discovered, don’t do these things. This message does have some positive moral implications, but most viewers might not get any message out of watching this movie.

On the other hand, the movie may be saying that, if only Dr. Jano could escape his middle-class, Christian guilt, he and Helena could enjoy a happy, loving extra-marital affair. It is also interesting to note that Amalia, the teenage protagonist in the story, not only is seduced by Dr. Jano’s perverted attention, she is also seduced by the attention of her friend Josefina, who mocks their Christian teacher and with whom Amalia eventually shares a lesbian kiss.

All in all, therefore, THE HOLY GIRL is an unholy mess with an unclear premise. There are no explicit, graphic sex scenes in THE HOLY GIRL, but it contains adult sexual themes and scenes of perverse lust. The movie also contains brief full male nudity in a non-sexual scene, some petting between the teenage protagonist’s friend and a teenage boy, and a passionate homosexual kiss between the two teenage girls.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.