Stigmata Information

Stigmata is a 1999 supernatural horror film directed by Rupert Wainwright and starring Patricia Arquette as an atheist hairdresser from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who is afflicted with the stigmata after acquiring a rosary formerly owned by a deceased Italian priest who himself suffered from the phenomena. Gabriel Byrne plays a Vatican official who investigates her case, and Jonathan Pryce plays a corrupt Catholic Church official.


The film opens in the Brazilian village of Belo Quinto, with Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne), a former scientist and an ordained Jesuit priest who investigates supposed miracles, examining a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe weeping blood at the funeral of Father Paulo Alameida (Jack Donner). While Andrew is collecting evidence, a young boy steals the rosary from the father's hand. The boy later sells it to a woman in a marketplace, who sends it to her atheist daughter Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) living in Pittsburgh.

Shortly afterward, Frankie is attacked by an unseen force while bathing, and receives two deep wounds on her wrists. As the wounds are treated at the hospital the doctors cannot find the cause beyond that they are puncture wounds and go all the way through the wrist. Frankie goes to work the next day but, on the way home on the subway, approaches a priest and asks if he is Andrew Kiernan. After the priest tells her he is Father Derning, the lights in the train begin to flash, and Frankie holds onto the bars lining the ceiling as she is whipped from behind by an unseen force, Father Derning watching in horror. While Frankie is hospitalized again, the priest sends security tapes showing the attack to the Vatican, and Andrew is sent to investigate.

Andrew meets Frankie, who tells him she has been expecting him, and Andrew interviews her, believing her wounds may be stigmata. When she tells him she is an atheist, Andrew tells her that stigmatics are universally spiritual people and that stigmata is the deeply devoted being struck with the five wounds that Jesus Christ received during the crucifixion, so Frankie has been impaled through the wrists and whipped.

Frankie walks away and begins unsuccessfully to research on her own what could be the cause. Later, at a nightclub, Frankie's head begins to bleed, the third stigmata wound caused by the Crown of Thorns. Frankie runs home, where Andrew is waiting, and then runs into an alley. As Andrew pursues her, Frankie smashes a glass bottle and uses the shards to carve symbols on the hood of a car: when Andrew approaches her, she yells at him in another language.

Andrew takes Frankie to Father Derning's church, and the Vatican translates what she was yelling as Aramaic, the language of Christ. Frankie goes home and, the next morning, Andrew returns to her apartment to find her writing in marker on the wall, now covered in Aramaic. When questioned, Frankie responds in a male voice speaking Italian but then collapses on the bed. Frankie goes out and walks the streets with Andrew, when she collapses as wounds appear in her feet, the fourth wound of stigmata.

Andrew emails photographs of Frankie's apartment wall to the Vatican, where Brother Delmonico (Dick Latessa) recognizes the words and deletes the pictures and tells Andrew the words are from a document the church found that looked to be an entirely new gospel. Father Dario (Enrico Colantoni) retrieves the pictures and shows them to Cardinal Daniel Houseman (Jonathan Pryce), who also recognizes them. Meanwhile, Delmonico phones Marion Petrocelli (Rade ?erbed?ija) and tells him the missing gospel has been found in Pittsburgh.

In Pittsburgh, Andrew goes to Frankie's apartment to find the wall she wrote on painted over, and Frankie attempts to seduce him. When Andrew rejects her she attacks him, wind blowing through the apartment as Frankie denounces Andrew's beliefs in a male voice, ending with Frankie levitating off the bed crying tears of blood. Houseman and Dario arrive at the apartment with Derning and take Frankie to another church, sending Andrew to Derning's.

At Derning's church, Andrew meets Petrocelli, who tells him the words Frankie has been writing are part of a document found outside Jerusalem that they believed to be a gospel in the exact words of Jesus. Petrocelli, Delmonico and Alameida were assigned to translate it, but Houseman ordered them to stop. Alameida refused and stole the document to continue translating it alone, having been excommunicated by Houseman.

Petrocelli tells Andrew that the document was Jesus telling his disciples that the Kingdom of God is in all of us and all around us and not confined to churches, a revelation that could ruin the Catholic Church. Petrocelli also tells Andrew that Alameida suffered from stigmata. Andrew races to the church where Frankie is, while Houseman and Dario attempt to perform an exorcism on Frankie. Frankie shouts at them in a male voice, and Houseman dismisses Dario and the present nuns before attempting to strangle Frankie. Andrew arrives and stops him, and the fireplaces in the room erupt and set the room on fire. Now believing Frankie is possessed by Alameida's spirit, Andrew offers to be Alameida's messenger instead. He walks unharmed through the fire to retrieve Frankie, bidding Alameida's spirit to depart in peace. Some time later, Andrew returns to Belo Quinto and finds the original documents for the lost gospel under the floorboards of Alameida's church.

The film ends with a screen of text describing the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, believed, according to the film, to be the closest thing to the actual words of Jesus while alive: the film states the Catholic Church refuses to recognize the document as a gospel and considers it heresy.



Box office

Stigmata, produced on a $29 million budget, premièred 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. In the United States, Stigmata earned $50,046,268. Internationally the film earned $39,400,000 for a total world wide gross $89,446,268.

Critical response

The film received relatively poor reviews; Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 22% approval rating at, based on 89 reviews (19 positive, 70 negative).

Roger Ebert called it "possibly the funniest movie ever made about Catholicism — from a theological point of view." The film was nominated for a Razzie Awards for Worst Supporting Actor (Gabriel Byrne).

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