Franco and Plaza: delightful nunsense
Gunpowder and Sky
By Stephanie Zacharek
June 29, 2017

Every few months in the world of movies, there’s a small delight that nearly slips past notice. The Little Hours, an unapologetically anachronistic confection directed by Jeff Baena (Life After Beth) and based loosely–very loosely–on Boccaccio’s Decameron, is one of these. Aubrey Plaza stars as a restless medieval nun who’s less a holy roller than an eye roller. Everything about life in the cloisters annoys her, including a googly-eyed tattle-tale Sister (Kate Micucci) and a prissy rich girl (Alison Brie) who’s been parked in the joint by her father. The arrival of a strapping groundskeeper (Dave Franco) riles everybody.

The Little Hours coasts along breezily on the oddball rhythms of its actors. The cast also includes John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, who cap the whole crazy enterprise in a surprisingly tender coda. It doesn’t hurt that Baena and cinematographer Quyen Tran shot the picture in sun-washed Tuscany. Looking for a break from the Black Death, or even just the summer heat? The Little Hours is just the thing.

This appears in the July 10, 2017 issue of TIME.

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