The Calling Review

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Despite the misgivings of family and friends, Joanna (Emily Beecham) joins an order of Benedictine nuns, fulfilling a childhood ambition in the process. The reality of convent life, however, is nothing like she expects.


Like so many convent movies, this engaging saga has a hothouse atmosphere that intensifies the melodrama of pregnant postulant Emily Beacham discovering that several of the sisters who had initially made her so unwelcome have plenty of peccadilloes to repent themselves.

The action occasionally threatens to spin off into wimpled histrionics. But, despite the rather awkward shift from gentle humour into full-on soap opera, this is played with admirable ensemble nous and directed with a sincere grasp of the impact human foible can have on even the most fervent religious belief. Brenda Blethyn particularly stands out, with her common sense attitude to temporal and spiritual matters confirming the validity and relevance of vocations to modern living.

Despite the uneven tone, this is sincere and quirky stuff, well-acted by its ensemble cast.