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The Magdalene Sisters
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Note: This film has an R rating.

Junkie Rating:

This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.

Cast and Credits

Peter Mullan (Director)
Geraldine McEwan (Sister Bridget) 
Anne-Marie Duff
Nora-Jane Noone
Dorothy Duffy
Eileen Walsh
Mary Murray
Britta Smith
Frances Healy
(Sister Jude) 
Eithne McGuinness
(Sister Clementine) 
Phyllis MacMahon
(Sister Augusta) 


      "The Magdalene Sisters" is yet another movie which puts the Catholic church in a very dim view and will be considered as anti-Catholic by many viewers.  The film is based on actual occurrences which took place at the Magdalene Sanctuary in Ireland in the 1960's.  This is a very disturbing and sometimes powerful story which tells how so many women were mistreated and humiliated by the nuns who ran the sanctuary.  However, this same type of story has been done countless times in movies before so it seemed to lose some of it's strength and originality as the movie went on.

      The story centers on three girls who arrive at the sanctuary at the same time.  Bernadette has been sent there because she simply flirted and talked dirty with the boys in her neighborhood.  Margaret has basically been disowned by her family after she was raped by her cousin, yet she was deemed the criminal.  Rose has also been disowned by her father and mother because she got pregnant and had a baby out of wedlock.  Another girl who has been at the sanctuary for a while, Crispina, seems to be going crazy instead of being saved while staying in what is really a prison for these girls.  That they are locked in and watched constantly by the nuns make escape almost impossible.  And if a girl is caught trying to escape, the consequences can be severe and very de-humanizing.

      Sister Bridget is the head nun and she never shows any compassion for any of the girls who have been sent to the sanctuary.  She seems to want to act as warden to these prisoners and could care less if these girls/women ever leave the sanctuary. Matter of fact, she enjoys humiliating and punishing these girls much more than trying to help these girls out and sending them back out into the world as better women.  Sister Bridget will quickly whip a girl or cut off her hair when any small infraction occurs or if a girl tries to escape.  Bernadette is determined to escape from this hell hole and tries to get the help of a delivery boy to enhance her chances.

      It's hard to believe that women and girls were treated so badly and without any compassion by these nuns who of course preach religion twenty four hours a day. The film's story is that much more haunting based on the fact that these kinds of things actually took place at this so-called place of God. The acting by all the girls in this film is excellent as they portray ordinary girls who get caught up in their mistakes which seem to turn everyone they know against them.  But even though there is lots of positive stuff about this film, I found myself not getting as emotional involved in the story as I had expected.  I don't know if I totally believed that these nuns would act so hateful against the girls at the sanctuary and do all the things depicted in the film.  I guess I just wanted to film to be more powerful and emotional than I experienced.

      So, this is a pretty good film about this subject matter. The depiction of these authority figures who you would think would be very moral people but yet who goals seem to suppress the human spirit of these women is very compelling.  And the strength of these young girls in overcoming these inhumane actions is the most moving aspect to this film.  I think some people will be very moved by this story but others will find the going a little tedious.  I certainly recommend it but somehow I felt that I've seen this basic plot too many times before.

Mike ( 2 1/2 out of 4 pops )


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