Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76% · 250 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.5/10 10 432 432


Top cast

Pete Postlethwaite as William Carpenter
Corinne Camacho as Pilgrim
999.68 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 48 min
Seeds 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by artaxerxes1 10 / 10

A spiritual experience

This film must be watched with a quiet spirit and a willingness to let go of well-organized, linear plot development. Those familiar with The Book of Margery Kempe will appreciate the spiritual struggle Anchoress represents as well as the more "feminine" approach to plot. The cinematography is exquisite as well as the acting.

Reviewed by atandt 10 / 10

breathtaking, mystifying

shot in B&W, but with a glaring brightness at times, "Anchoress" unravels a strange slice of life of a young woman who feels called to live in a cell of a church within sight of a statue of the Virgin. the Cult of Mary was strong in the medieval times (and i suppose it still continues today), and this and other bits of the medieval life bring some historical credibility to the screen.

but far from being a sort of documentary, there are surreal and mystical elements too, which i think should serve to appeal to a modern audience. this film has what i would consider an art-house feel, but it also bears a purity to the viewer, of a simple age where belief meant everything and proof is almost heretical.

whether a character has truly experienced a vision, or is a witch, or is holy,is never justly determined by the characters in their peasant lives, but is merely enforced by entrenched codes of social, religious, and other laws. to watch christine encounter each of these, to watch her life and her family be affected by the strangeness of the story and the rules of the age is captivating to behold.

i found this film to be beautiful, bizarre, with a wonderful cast, as faithful as possible to the historically-known experiences of folk in European middle ages (well, aside from the imaginative bits), comical, tragic, but entirely fascinating.

Reviewed by stephen-487 9 / 10

Medieval film

Newby's film is based on the true story of Christine Carpenter, who in the 14th century was renounced as dead to the living world by the church, and enclosed as an anchoress for the rest of her life in the wall of a village church in Shere in Surray. The inspiration for the film, according to screenwriter Judith Stanely-Smith, was a letter concerning Christine written by the Bishop of Winchester in 1324.

In the film Christine, a 14-year old illiterate peasant girl, finds herself drawn to a statue of the Virgin Mary. Meanwhile the village priest and "reeve" (Sheriff) are increasingly drawn to the beautiful Christine. The reeve proposed marriage to the girl, but Christine refuses the offer to the dismay of her mother, Pauline. Instead at the urging of a priest Christine becomes an anchoress so she can live next to the statue she so adores (and escape the possibility of marriage to the reeve). Her mother Pauline does not like her decision and plots against the priest. When Pauline, the village doctor and midwife, delivers the illegitimate stillborn child of the priests lover, the priest begins to plot against her. He accuses her of witchcraft and Pauline is killed by a mob. Meanwhile Christine has escaped from her cell through a tunnel and flees with her lover to Winchester to seek release from her vows from the Bishop there. The Bishop refuses and she "escapes" to run away with her love (although the ending scene is ambiguous if she really found freedom or a new kind of prison).

Historically, the film is very accurate and instructive to understanding on an emotional and personal level the idea of Christian sexual renunciation and asceticism in the Middle Ages. The film also portrays well the interactions between secular and ecclesiastical powers over the lives of peasants. The reeves French-like accent is very accurate as a Norman lord (although the bald head is questionable). The Bishops Mediteranian accent and Latin language is also accurate. This film will appeal to anyone with an interest in the Middle Ages and history.

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