Thérèse

Thérèse Martin (1873–1897), a.k.a. Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower of Jesus,” achieved sainthood not by means of miracles or great works but through daily devotion. Cavalier's portrait similarly finds significance in “small events,” distilling the saint's life into a series of brief vignettes played out before blank gray backdrops. His Thérèse (Catherine Mouchet, in a charming, openhearted performance) is playful and vivacious, an ordinary teenager subject to ordinary teenage impulses; it's just that the object of her adolescent crush happens to be Jesus, whose favor she desires with an earnestness approaching amour fou. When, near death from tuberculosis, she suffers a crisis of faith, it feels to her like lovesickness. Cavalier's rendering of life in the Carmelite convent is both austere and sensuous, historical and timeless; he captures elements of the alien and the mundane in carefully chosen details, all bathed in a light of miraculous clarity.
—Juliet Clark

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