starring Isabella Händler, Inge Maux, Jochen Nickel, Tim Werths
written and directed by Marie Alice Wolfszahn
by Walter Chaw Marie Alice Wolfszahn's Mother Superior is an overly familiar period piece about a young woman engaged as a caretaker for a mysterious and ailing older woman in a rambling country house--a plot most recently explored in the superlative Saint Maud and Sebastián Lelio's pretty good The Wonder, due out soon. It's possible to mine interest and value from a template so threadbare, but there's a built-in danger of playing with a premise the audience has likely already started to unravel as soon as the particulars are established. In Mother Superior, the young nurse is Sigrun (Isabella Händler), whom, we gather from the opening-credits sequence, is maybe the offspring of a Nazi breeding program. She goes to work as a nurse for creepy Baroness Heidenreich (Inge Maux), who is suffering from Parkinson's disease--though it only really manifests in some trembling when she tries to drink tea. Why would an aspiring anesthesiologist agree to be the hospice nurse for the Baroness? also-creepy caretaker Otto (Jochen Nickel) would like to know. Unfortunately, five minutes in, most everyone who's seen another movie would be able to tell him.
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