In most cases, philosophical murder mysteries are routinely contrived, tacky, and full of red herrings. Agnes of God is no exception. With a storyline that sounds as if it was pulled from the front page of "The National Inquirer," Agnes of God falls short of anything intellectually stimulating. This hit stage-play turned motion-picture repeatedly disappoints, and is nothing more than an exasperating piece of dastardly drivel.
On a quiet night within the walls of a Montreal convent, a novice nun named Agnes (Meg Tilly) is found in her quarters drenched in blood. Upon a closer inspection of her room, a dead infant, with its umbilical cord tired around its neck, is discovered in Agnes’ wastebasket. Dr. Martha Livingston (Jane Fonda) is called in to investigate the killing and provide a psychiatric evaluation of Agnes—the apparent mother and murderer of the child. Agnes claims that she does not recollect the conception or the birth, but Dr. Livingston is adamant to assign a definitive explanation as to both who the father and killer are.
Considering the only male candidate who ostensibly has any access to the convent is Father Martineau (Gratein Gelinas), an elderly and slow-moving man, Mother Superior Miriam (Anne Bancroft) believes that the father of Agnes’s baby is God. She deems the conception to be immaculate and Agnes to be innocent. With this set of convictions in mind, Mother Superior attempts to discourage Dr. Livingston from interrogating and corrupting Agnes any further; however, she fails.
After a series of one-on-ones and a hypnotism or two, Dr. Livingston determines Agnes to be a very distressed woman who is haunted by her deceased mother. What else will Dr. Livingston uncover? Did Agnes have relations with a mortal man or is she a blessed woman of God (as the title alleges)?
The answer to both of the preceding questions is: one will never know. Agnes of God does not even follow the proper paradigm of a screenplay; it is lacking in both much-needed plot points and a resolution to the third act. Frustratingly, the film relies on the supernatural, and therefore its mass of inquiries that contrast between faith and agnosticism are all infuriatingly left unanswered. Agnes of God provides no closure, which makes the entire 98 minute picture practically pointless.