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Movie Review: “The Little Hours” (2017)

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 6/30/2017

Theatrical Release: 6/30/2017


When a young man (Dave Franco) gets into some trouble and is forced on the run, he goes to a priest (John C. Reilly) seeking asylum. The young man is being hunted by dangerous men, and he needs somewhere to lie low. The priest lets the young man stay at his convent, where he will work as a farmer. Although already off the radar, they decide that the young man should also pretend to be deaf and mute—in order to avoid unwanted attention. However, with three emotionally unstable nuns living at the convent, unwanted attention will not be so easy to avoid.

Alessandra (Alison Brie), Ginerva (Kate Micucci), and Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) are nuns at the convent. Alessandra has a rebellious attitude and a complicated relationship with her father. Fernanda has a fiery temper and unusual interests. Ginerva is a responsible woman but has trouble resisting the bad influences that are Alessandra and Fernanda. The three form a group of wild and unpredictable nuns who each have their sights set on the young farmer, making a very unfortunate situation for the young man trying to blend in.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Supporting Cast (+2pts)

Slow Start (-4pts)

The Premise (+3pts)

The Execution (-5pts)

Alison Brie & Aubrey Plaza (+6pts)

The Comedy (-4pts)

Nick Offerman.

Nick Offerman.

Pro: The Supporting Cast (+2pts)

The supporting cast was fun because it was filled with great comedic actors and actresses. I enjoyed seeing what familiar faces would pop up next, as the movie included comedic greats such as: John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman, and Fred Armisen. None of them were given much to do, so they were not really able to showcase their comedic chops. Nonetheless, it was still fun to see them in this movie. Molly Shannon and Fred Armisen had some entertaining moments, whereas Nick Offerman and John C. Reilly did not have much to do comedically, but they were all entertaining for the brief time that they were on screen.

The three leads.

The three leads.

Con: Slow Start (-4pts)

The beginning of this movie was definitely slow, and not in a good, slow-burn kind of way. The beginning of this movie—the first thirty minutes or so—was not funny, it was not eventful, and it was not dramatic. Everything was just kind of happening in a lackluster sort of way. The cast made it watchable, but the filmmakers definitely could have done a better job at setting up this story, as well as the characters in it, in a more entertaining way.

Did the movie end up picking up? Yes, but not enough to get me completely over the slow, boring start. Fortunately, the filmmakers had a well-known, entertaining cast. If they had not, this movie—particularly the beginning—would have been a real struggle to endure.

Aubrey Plaza and Dave Franco.

Aubrey Plaza and Dave Franco.

Pro: The Premise (+3pts)

On paper, I thought this premise was a strong one. A young man, trying to stay under the radar to avoid people who were after him, stayed at a convent full of emotionally unstable—and to be honest, horny—nuns. This premise, mixed with the cast in playing these characters, could have made for a really great comedy. I will get into what I liked about Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza later in this review, but they were not the only great casting choices in this movie.

Dave Franco did a good job as the young man. He was trying to be anonymous, but he had three crazy nuns all over him. Dave Franco did a good job of playing into the nervousness and awkwardness of his character. Kate Micucci also did a good job of playing the innocent nun falling victim to the bad influences that were the other two. It was a decent premise, and the cast behind it was strong. If only the filmmakers capitalized on it.

A still from the film.

A still from the film.

Con: The Execution (-5pts)

The filmmakers had a decent premise, and a great cast, but I thought they really dropped the ball with the execution. The plot felt random—in an almost incoherent sort of way—the dialogue felt hollow, and I have already mentioned my issues with the uneventful and uninteresting beginning of the story. Again, on paper, this movie had the makings of a great comedy, but it felt like the filmmakers tried to throw it together with as little effort and thought as possible. I really wanted to like this movie, because I like pretty much everyone who was in it. Unfortunately, the filmmakers did not seem to have any idea of what they wanted to do with this movie, and it showed. Its best moments were only chuckle-worthy and its worst moments were outright boring. Most of the movie was somewhere in the middle, but that is not exactly a great range to be in for the majority of a movie’s runtime.

Pro: Alison Brie & Aubrey Plaza (+6pts)

More than anything else, these two were what made the movie watchable. Alison Brie has proven that she is able to balance comedy and drama effectively. Her performance in this movie was no exception. Of the three nuns, Alessandra was primarily the one that drove the plot forward. Alison Brie did this well. She played into the drama that the character required, and she did so while also playing into the character's frustrations in a comedic way.

Alison Brie was great at playing into the drama without sacrificing her character’s comedy. By doing this so well, it allowed Aubrey Plaza to almost exclusively stay in her comedic zone. Aubrey Plaza shines when playing characters who are a bit crazy. If you are familiar with some of her roles, then you know what I am talking about, and she brought her unique flavor to this movie. Fernanda was awkward, she had a temper, and she was the most unpredictable of the three nuns. These two actresses handled their respective roles really well and were in my opinion, the best parts of this movie.

Con: The Comedy (-4pts)

This movie had some funny moments, there is no doubt about that. However, as I mentioned before, its funniest moments were mostly just chuckle-worthy. Most of those funnier moments were a result of Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, or Dave Franco, but even the best comedic moments felt like they were missing something. Everything just felt so random, and aimlessly thrown together. Comedy needs context, and with a story written so poorly, the comedy in this movie had no context, so it ended up falling flat. There were definitely some funny moments, but given the stacked, talented, comedic cast—as well as the silly premise—this movie should have and could have been a lot funnier than it was.

Grading Scale





























Three hilarious leads.

Three hilarious leads.

Grade: C- (73pts)

I wanted to like this movie, as it had a decent premise and a great cast, but the movie had more than its fair share of problems. The beginning of the movie felt really slow and uneventful, but it was the overall writing that bothered me the most. Everything just felt randomly thrown together. It hurt the plot, the dialogue felt weak, but most importantly, the comedy fell flat.

The premise was entertaining, and the movie was definitely at its best when playing into that premise, but the movie’s greatest strength was by far its cast. I liked Dave Franco and Kate Micucci in their respective roles, and I liked the supporting cast—John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, and Nick Offerman. The standouts of this movie, however, were Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza. Alison Brie did a pretty solid job of balancing her character’s comedic tone while giving a dramatic performance whenever the story needed it from her. She did a good job with this, which allowed Aubrey Plaza to stay in her comedic zone. The movie’s cast was strong, but the movie unfortunately did not have much else going for it.