User Reviews (4)

Add a Review

  • It may not be perfect not for a long shot but, it is based on a Muriel Spark novel as a sort of parody for Watergate but instead of The White House in Washington Dc, we have an Abbey in Philadelphia. The pleasures that the film offers are mostly centered on a cast of extraordinary actresses from different parts of the world and from different schools of acting. Glenda Jackson plays the Nixonian Abbess and Glenda Jackson now in 2018 is making a phenomenal return to acting after 25 years of total commitment to her Country as a vociferous Member of Parliament. Last years he gave us a stage rendition of King Lear that by all accounts it was magnificent and at the moment she's on Broadway at 81 years of age in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women. I found her performance in Nasty Habits devoid of tricks or frills, spot on and a lot of fun to watch. Asif all this wasn't enough, Geraldine Page, Melina Mercouri, Sandy Dennis even Edith Evans. They alone make this movie compulsive viewing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This buried treasure may very well go down in history as the film with the highest concentration of great actresses. Set in an abbey in Philadelphia, this goof on the Watergate scandal stars Glenda Jackson as wily nun bent on becoming abbess at any cost and that includes performing a lot of dirty tricks. She's the Nixon figure and Geraldine Page & Anne Jackson are her Haldeman and Ehrlichman. They're priceless as they try one crackpot scheme after another to ensure the ruin of young upstart nun Susan Penhaligon. Sandy Dennis (looking very much like John Dean) nearly steals the film as a dim-witted nincompoop and Melina Mercouri is the Kissinger figure, a world traveling nun espousing sound advice from all over the place. Expertly paced by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and featuring a very witty script by Robert Enders (from a book by Muriel Spark). The large cast also includes Anne Meara, Edith Evans, Jerry Stiller, Rip Torn and a very funny Eli Wallach.
  • Zen Bones31 March 2002
    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!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An amusing but slight and laughless comedy, this takes a slam at Watergate through scandal in a Catholic convent that may not be associated with the Vatican. Hoping to be named the new abbess on the death of the previous one (Dame Edith Evans), strong willed Glenda Jackson strives to insure that she will be, enticing the curiosity of a young nun (Susan Penhalihon) who ambitiously wants that position herself. With the aid of fellow nuns Anne Jackson, Geraldine Page and Sandy Dennis, she schemes to have a "convent break-in" and steal proof that Penhalihon has been guilty of breaking her vows, leading the young nun to go out of her way to expose the corruption.

    Great actors make this a major curiosity, but even less than a decade after the real Watergate scandal, audiences were not eager to see it spoofed and stayed away, in spite of that cast. If you know your Watergate history, you will pick up who is supposed to be who, with Jackson obviously Nixon and the heavy accented Melina Mercouri secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Of the actresses, Dennis is the most amusing, wearing enlarged teeth and talking non-stop.

    An amusing casting stunt has three of the nun's real life actor husbands as Vatican officials: Rip Torn, Eli Wallach and Jerry Stiller, whose wife Ann Meara plays the convent receptionist nun who is also a champion swimmer. A few real life reporters appear as themselves. It is worth seeing perhaps once for the ideas that don't always work but provide a bit of amusement. Young audiences who don't care about the inner workings of long dead politicians will most likely greet this with a one word review of "Huh?"