31 March 2002 | Zen Bones
This is a wonderfully dry parody of the Watergate scandal set in a Philadelphia Abbey. It's election time, and to insure her victory as head abbess, Glenda Jackson and her cohorts scheme a break-in of her competition's sewing box. Yes, sewing box, where the young nun's love letters from her illicit lover are stored. Oh, the scandal! The plot thickens as the events leading up to the scandal are revealed (wiretappings and bribery, what else?), and even the Vatican (re: congress) would like to wash their hands of these power-hungry renegades. The layers of comedy might throw some viewers off, as this kind of humor is very rare these days. It's simultaneously whimsical and wicked, and all of the performers handle it with the most delicate touch (despite the premise, this is not 'nuns on parade'!). And like the magnificent DICK (1999), younger audiences who have little or no knowledge of Watergate will be in a fog. But the cast alone insures great pleasure just to watch them at their best. Glenda Jackson is superb as a very mannered version of Richard Nixon, and the supporting cast (some of the best actresses of that generation) are likewise mannered equivalents of 'all the president's men'. Well, somewhat mannered. Geraldine Page seems like a chain-smoking George Raft, and Sandy Dennis is Bugs Bunny incarnate. They're brilliant performances, all!