"Stigmata" is a supernatural scary film directed by Rupert Wainwright and released in 1999. The story revolves around a girl called Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who begins to reveal indications of stigmata, the physical symptom of Jesus Christ's crucifixion wounds. The Vatican sends out a priest, Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne), to examine the apparently mysterious phenomena.Plot Summary
The movie opens by showcasing Father Andrew Kiernan, a researcher and private investigator of spiritual phenomena for the Vatican. On The Other Hand, Frankie Paige, a hairdresser without any spiritual affiliation, receives a rosary from her mother who recently returned from a journey to Brazil. Soon after, Paige begins to experience the wounds connected with the stigmata.
Upon seeing her abrupt inexplicable conditions, Father Kiernan is dispatched by the Vatican. He performs a series of tests and records the mysterious happenings. The strange elements, combined with Paige's outspoken aggression towards authoritarian religion and her quick attachment to Kiernan, result in a stark story contrast in between faith, secret, and reality.
Ultimately, it is exposed that the rosary provided to Paige holds the spirit of a deceased priest who had actually discovered a lost gospel. This gospel, too questionable for the Church, had resulted in the priest's death, and his spirit, now attached to the rosary, was trying to expose its existence through Paige's stigmata.Styles and Symbolism
Stigmata explores dark and concealed elements of the Catholic Church through styles of faith, corruption, and authority. The movie likewise delves into conversations of desire, truth, and liberty. Regardless of Paige's preliminary antagonism, she evolves to accept the phenomenon affecting her, declaring her as a 'blessed,' rather than 'afflicted,' private.
The movie utilizes symbolic elements greatly, utilizing extreme visual cues to represent the stigmata's onsets and showcasing Paige's battle with her newly found power. Daddy Kiernan, as an intermediary between faith and science, represents the Church's battle to fix up modernity with custom. The controversial gospel and its discovery represent a require a more personal, independent connection with God, a stark contrast to the movie's depiction of the Church's orthodoxy.Conclusion
Coming to a climax, it is revealed that the Church had understood about the lost gospel and suppressed it due to its controversial message: that the kingdom of God is within every individual, revoking the Church's hierarchical function in connecting the people with God. The movie concludes with Frankie becoming devoid of the stigmata after the lost gospel gets revealed to the world. Father Kiernan, disillusioned by the Church's corruption, leaves his position.
In the last scenes, "Stigmata" questions the nature of belief and the function of religious organizations. In spite of its horror framing, the film's core message holds a deep expedition of faith, individual connection with God, and the conflict between individual belief and institutionalized religion.