The road for Alex Thompson’s “Saint Frances” began on March 11, 2019, at the South by Southwest Film Festival where it won the audience award and a special jury prize for breakthrough voice. Written by and starring Kelly O’Sullivan, the film was picked up by Oscilloscope Laboratories and released in theaters on Feb. 28, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a nationwide lockdown. Since then, it’s picked up two nominations at the Gotham Awards, including breakthrough actor for O’Sullivan and the Bingham Ray breakthrough director prize for Alex Thompson. The film remains in the conversation for the awards season.
“Saint Frances” has been beloved by critics and journalists, garnering a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s Peter Debruge named it his second favorite film of 2020 saying in part, “Saint Frances wasn’t directed by a woman, though its candid comedic voice is every bit the creation of screenwriter-star Kelly O’Sullivan, who delivers a ‘Trainwreck’-like look at a 34-year-old eff-up struggling to figure out her life. O’Sullivan’s script doesn’t shy away from topics that are never/rarely/sometimes discussed in studio movies: abortion, menstruation, post-partum depression and same-sex motherhood. If the Oscars were mine to award, Charin Alvarez would get supporting actress honors for her role as one of the movie’s lesbian moms.”
A must-read for anyone curious about the construction of O’Sullivan’s witty and ingenious script, it remains a passionate dark horse for an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay, if enough voters discover its magic over this extended eligibility period.
Download a PDF of the full script here