Watch Household Saints
- 2 hr 4 min
Household Saints is a poignant and deeply moving drama film from 1993 that explores themes of love, faith, and family. Starring Tracey Ullman, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Lili Taylor, the movie is a beautifully crafted portrayal of the Italian-American immigrant experience in New York City. The film tells the story of the Santangelo family, spanning three generations. The family is deeply religious, and their Catholic faith is a central element of their lives. The story begins in the early 20th century when Catherine Santangelo (Tracey Ullman) immigrates to America from Italy with her parents. She grows up in a devout Catholic household with her mother, who has visions of the Virgin Mary, and her father, a cobbler. Catherine falls in love with Joseph (Vincent D'Onofrio), an aspiring artist who is also Catholic.
Catherine and Joseph's love story unfolds against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II. Despite the challenges they face, including Joseph's stint in the army, they eventually marry and have three children: Teresa (Lili Taylor), Alice (Judith Malina), and Joseph Jr. (Michael Imperioli). Their family life is filled with both joy and struggle, as they navigate the complexities of marriage, motherhood, and the changing world around them.
As the years go by, Catherine becomes increasingly devoted to her Catholic faith and her visions of the Virgin Mary. She spends much of her time in prayer and contemplation, hoping to receive a sign from God. Meanwhile, Teresa grows up and rebels against her strict Catholic upbringing. She experiments with drugs, has an affair with a married man, and struggles to find her place in the world.
The film is a powerful meditation on the role of faith and tradition in people's lives, as well as the tension between the old and the new. The Santangelo family represents a disappearing way of life, as the world around them becomes increasingly secular and materialistic. Yet, their faith and devotion sustain them through even the toughest of times.
The performances in Household Saints are outstanding, particularly those of Ullman and Taylor. Ullman delivers a nuanced and deeply emotive portrayal of a woman whose life is shaped by her faith, while Taylor captures the rebellious spirit of a young woman trying to find her way in a world that doesn't understand her. D'Onofrio brings a quiet intensity to his role as the artist and father, whose emotional depth is revealed through his art.
The film is also visually stunning, with its beautiful cinematography capturing both the gritty reality of New York City and the spiritual dimensions of the characters' lives. The use of color is particularly striking, with the blue and white of Catherine's visions contrasting with the earthy tones of the everyday world.
Overall, Household Saints is a beautiful and deeply affecting film that explores timeless themes with subtlety and grace. Despite being set in a specific time and place, its message about the enduring power of faith and family transcends its historical context. It is a film that will stay with the viewer long after the credits have rolled.