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Virgin (2004) So you liked "Saved!," but would've preferred something more, oh, relentlessly downbeat? Look no further: Virgin also chronicles an untimely pregnancy in a deeply religious… 2004-09-03 Unrated PT114M Elisabeth Moss Robin Wright Full Moon Entertainment
Movie Review

Virgin (2004)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

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Robin Wright, Virgin | SHOWING FAITH Wright Penn shepherded ''Virgin,'' a downbeat film with religious overtones, to the screen as executive producer
SHOWING FAITH Wright Penn shepherded ''Virgin,'' a downbeat film with religious overtones, to the screen as executive producer
EW's GRADE
C+

Details Limited Release: Sep 03, 2004; Rated: Unrated; Length: 114 Minutes; With: Elisabeth Moss and Robin Wright; Distributor: Full Moon Entertainment

So you liked ''Saved!,'' but would've preferred something more, oh, relentlessly downbeat? Look no further: Virgin also chronicles an untimely pregnancy in a deeply religious suburban enclave. And laughs most assuredly do not ensue. Black sheep Jessie (''The West Wing'''s Elisabeth Moss, wearing a spooky bemusement reminiscent of Sarah Polley) is date-raped by the class Adonis while unconscious. When she wakes, recalling nothing, she has a series of visions -- loamy, vernal goddess stuff, imbuing her with a heightened intuition for human suffering -- and announces both her pregnancy and its heavenly origin.

Neither is well received: Her ultra-godly sister resents the divine favoritism, her deeply unhappy mother (executive producer Robin Wright Penn) sinks into an even deeper funk, and her hateful hypocrite of a father now expresses open dislike for her. It all descends quickly into desultory melodrama, with broadly drawn nightmares of demon-male small-mindedness balanced against impeccable portraits of the sacred feminine in action. Jessie, after her epiphany, is little more than a straw-martyr Eve, her passion engineered by a filmmaker with a thundering agenda: Writer- director Deborah Kampmeier's Bible-thumping townsfolk all but carry torches and pitchforks. And yet, despite her stern deconstructionist hand, Kampmeier shows some real skill with a camera. Too bad she caps her film with ''All we can do is love one another'' -- a trite moral in a story rigged for cruelty.

Originally posted Sep 01, 2004 Published in issue #782-783 Sep 10, 2004 Order article reprints