The Magdalene Sisters

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Top prizewinner at the 2002 Venice festival, Mullan's film is a devastating critique of Roman Catholic repression, as commonly practised in Ireland in the very recent past. Set in the mid-1960s, it follows a handful of teenage girls committed to a Magdalene laundry, a correctional institution which promises 'purification' - though for Mullan it's closer to an asylum or the gulags. Their sins? To have been raped, or fallen pregnant out of marriage, or simply to have flirted with boys. McEwan is Sister Bridget, who will beat a difficult charge without mercy, then shed buckets of tears at The Bells of St Mary's. It's a note-perfect portrait of the smallness of Evil. Newcomer Nora Jane Noone is no less impressive in perhaps the most difficult, most conflicted role. Her Bernadette is a live intelligence struggling to survive in a world where the virtuous create Hell on Earth. This tremendous piece of cinema more than confirms Mullan's promise - and you may never look at a nun the same way again.

Release details

Duration: 119 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Mullan
Screenwriter: Peter Mullan
Cast: Anne-Marie Duff
Eithne McGuinness
Eamonn Owens
Rebecca Walsh
Phyllis McMahon
Dorothy Duffy
Geraldine McEwan
Peter Mullan
Eileen Walsh
Britta Smith
Daniel Costello
Frances Healy
Nora Jane Noone
Mary Murray

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mary margaret

good to have horrible nuns exposed for their crimes against humanity it seems. peter mullan did a fantastic service to humanity by exposing abuse and exploitation of girls. mmk

mary margaret

good to have horrible nuns exposed for their crimes against humanity it seems. peter mullan did a fantastic service to humanity by exposing abuse and exploitation of girls. mmk