is a 1999 film directed by Rupert Wainwright
and starring Patricia Arquette
and Gabriel Byrne
The film follows the conflict between Frankie (Arquette), an atheist Pittsburgh hairdresser
who exhibits true stigmata
and Father Andrew Kiernan (Byrne), a former scientist and ordained Jesuit priest
who, as part of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints
, investigates miracles
for the Vatican
. Kiernan soon discovers that the stigmata stems from the spirit of Father Paulo Alameida, who was excommunicated
for his discovery of a lost Gospel
challenging the very foundations of Catholicism
. When a powerful Vatican cleric, Cardinal
Daniel Houseman (Jonathan Pryce
), attempts to have Frankie silenced, she and Kiernan go on the run.
The movie is loosely based on the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas and a verse therein (77: Jesus said: I am the light that is over them all. I am the All; the All has come forth from me, and the All has attained unto me. Split a piece of wood and I am there. Raise up the stone, an ye shall find me there.) ; a document which the Vatican and most other Christians have declared as being the product of a heretical Gnostic group.
The film was controversial for its characterization of Vatican senior clergy as ruthlessly attempting to kill an innocent woman. Also controversial was the blossoming romance between the two main characters - one of whom is a priest. Another factor was the special effects, which appeared to make the manifestation of The Holy Stigmata border on demonic possession
. Even the pictorial image on the promotional one sheet
owes much to the one used for the film The Exorcist
, another film about possession by the Devil
premiered at the box office in the number one position, earning $18.3 million in its first weekend, becoming the first film in five weekends to outgross The Sixth Sense
at the box office. All in all, in the United States, "Stigmata" earned $50,046,268. Arquette was nominated for a Blockbuster Entertainment Award
for her role in the film.