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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Anne-Marie Duff
Nora-Jane Noone
Dorothy Duffy
Eileen Walsh.
Directors
Peter Mullan.
Screenwriters
Peter Mullan.
Running Time
119 minutes

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The Magdalene Sisters
Peter Mullan's heartfelt tale of three 'fallen' teenage girls sent to a Magdalene laundry run by the Catholic Church in 1964.


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Plot
In Ireland in 1964, three 'fallen' teenage girls - one unmarried mother, one raped by a cousin, one who simply flirted with boys - are sent to a Magdalene laundry run by the Catholic Church. Incarcerated under slave-like conditions in a harsh, morally hypocritical regime, escape isn't even an option.


Review
Given the condemnations that poured from the Vatican when The Magdalene Sisters premiered (and went on to win top prize) at the Venice Film Festival, you'd think Peter Mullan was the Antichrist.

However, his second stab at directing (afterOrphans) isn't a cynical attempt to kick the Catholic Church when it's reeling from contemporary scandals. This angry, emotionally manipulative but heartfelt film actually admires the faith of the girls locked away from the outside world. Mullan's target isn't religion: it's abuse of power, moral hypocrisy and sadistic authority. As such, the film has as much in common with the first half of Full Metal Jacket as The Devils.

The stark cinematography captures the oppressive mood of the Magdalene institution, while Mullan avoids the more stylish directorial flourishes of his debut and leaves the stage open for his ensemble cast to rise to the occasion. The performances are compelling, with Eileen Walsh a stand-out as Crispina.


Verdict
A deliberately provocative film that triggers the audience's emotions in order to highlight important issues of personal freedom. Amen to that.


Reviewed by Alan Morrison

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Magdalene Sisters
Empire Star Rating

Shocking, Unsettling But Very Good

A word of warning: anyone who is deeply religous or the easily offended shouldn't watch this. But if you have a strong stomach and can cope the shocking images along with the unsettling feeling, The Magdalene Sisters is a very good film based on true events and is worth a watch. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 10:01, 19 March 2011 | Report This Post


Brilliant

They're aren't wrong! Eileen Walsh should have been winning awards with her portrayal of the lonely, grieving Crispina, and Geraldine McEwan should at least get a lot of nominations (though I don't think she gets quite enough screentime). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pipkin3 at 17:41, 28 November 2006 | Report This Post


Brilliant

They're aren't wrong! Eileen Walsh should have been winning awards with her portrayal of the lonely, grieving Crispina, and Geraldine McEwan should at least get a lot of nominations (though I don't think she gets quite enough screentime). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pipkin3 at 17:41, 28 November 2006 | Report This Post


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