Novitiate (2017)

R   |    |  Drama


Novitiate (2017) Poster

Set in the early 1960s and during the era of Vatican II, a young woman in training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, the changing church and sexuality.

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6.7/10
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  • Margaret Qualley in Novitiate (2017)
  • Novitiate (2017)
  • Margaret Qualley in Novitiate (2017)
  • Novitiate (2017)
  • Novitiate (2017)
  • Rebecca Dayan and Margaret Qualley in Novitiate (2017)

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Director:

Maggie Betts

Writer:

Maggie Betts

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15 December 2017 | Red-125
9
| They only wanted to love Jesus
Novitiate (2017) was written and directed by Margaret Betts. Margaret Qualley portrays Sister Cathleen, who decides to become a nun because of her love for Jesus. She was not raised as a Catholic. In fact, her mother (Julianne Nicholson) considers the decision as a horribly bad move.

As the movie progresses, I started to believe that her mother was right. Young women who want to love and serve Jesus are systematically brutalized and humiliated by the Reverend Mother (Melissa Leo). In fact, the Reverend Mother appears consumed by her desire not to allow the young women to think. She also makes it difficult for them to bond with each other. She demands total and absolute obedience from all the women--postulants, novitiates, and nuns.

Then, Vatican II ends, and the Catholic church wants to modernize and change. Whether this is good news or bad news for the nuns is an open question in the context of this movie.

You'll have to see the movie to learn what happens to Sister Cathleen and the other novitiates. We saw this film at Rochester's excellent Little Theatre, but it will work on the small screen. As I write this review, the movie has a anemic 6.7 IMDb rating. I think it's better than that.

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