The Baby of Macon is a sumptuous-looking but ultimately shallow tale of manipulation, greed, and religious fanaticism set in Peter Greenaway’s favorite, the 17th century. In the city of Macon, an ugly woman suddenly bears a beautiful, healthy baby. Her fellow citizens perceive it as a wonder, with rumors circulating that she could not be the real mother of the child. Her 18-year-old virginal daughter (Julia Ormond) tries to use the situation, claiming that the baby is her own and was born as a result of an immaculate conception. The citizens start to worship the baby and the outraged Roman Catholic Church finally intervenes. Aiming at disclosure of the whole Christian mythology, which, according to Greenaway, always served to manipulate people, The Baby of Macon lacks passion or commitment. Even the much publicized violence, including an unseen multiple rape and the onscreen dismemberment of the baby, seems routine and uninspired rather than shocking.