Hail Mary


by Tuna

Je vous salue, Marie is Jean-Luc Godard's retelling of the virgin birth, as set in modern times. Mary is a High School student, basketball player, and a virgin. She lives with her father, who owns a filling station. Joseph, her boyfriend, is a taxi driver. The angel Gabriel appears to her (actually, arrives in Joseph's cab) and tells her she is going to have a baby. Her doctor confirms that she is a virgin. Joseph has trouble with her story, but she lets him do his own check, and, sure enough, she is a virgin. She gives birth to Jesus.

That's it, other than dialogue like:

"You don't need a mouthhole to eat with... and an asshole to swallow infinity. Your ass must go in your head, and so descend ... to ass level, then go left... or right to rise higher."

Reviewers, pro or con, focus on the fact that this film was controversial. It does continue a common Godard theme of a man obsessed with a woman he can't have, but if Godard was trying to explain some deep truth about the birth of Christ, or anything else for that matter, it was completely lost on me.

 That could be my fault, or a fault of the translation ...

... but I doubt it. 

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


The genre is French New Wave, and this has masterpiece status within that love-it-or-hate-it genre where everything is backwards. This is a must-avoid for the residents of our world, even though it would be the #1 box office smash on Bizarro World.


  • Myriem Roussel as Mary shows everything

  • ... as does Anne Gautier as a woman who tempts Joseph.



1.5 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
67 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)



There was a brief theatrical release in a few cities in the USA, but I have not been able to find any details of that run.



6.5 IMDB summary (of 10)
  The top 1000 voters score it 5.9


Hail Mary

This is available from RLDVDs.com in a Region 2/4 PAL with English subtitles. Click on the pic for info. The film is dark, but I think that is the source material, not the transfer.