Virgin | Chicago Reader

Virgin

A wild high school senior (Elisabeth Moss of The West Wing) passes out drunk at a school dance, gets raped by a classmate, and decides that her ensuing pregnancy is the result of an immaculate conception, infuriating her parents and their conservative Baptist community. Shot on digital video, this 2003 debut feature by Deborah Kampmeier struck me as familiar when I was watching it—the same basic idea has inspired filmmakers as dissimilar as Manoel de Oliveira (Benilde, or the Virgin Mother) and Preston Sturges (The Miracle of Morgan's Creek). But I was haunted afterward by its seething rage at the malicious paternalism and sexual hypocrisy of fundamentalist Christians. Kampmeier provides two overlapping conclusions, one beautifully ethereal and the other painfully ugly, yet both sanctify womanhood. With Robin Wright Penn, Peter Gerety, and Stephanie Gatschet. 114 min.

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