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The Magdalene Sisters

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Ireland, United Kingdom · 2002
Rated R · 1h 54m
Director Peter Mullan
Starring Anne-Marie Duff, Nora-Jane Noone, Dorothy Duffy, Geraldine McEwan
Genre Drama

Four “fallen” women are forcibly sent to a Magdalene asylum home to be “saved,” where they suffer violence and brutality at the hands of the sadistic nuns who work there. A historical drama with a fictional script based on four real-life testimonies.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


Slate by David Edelstein

Both a masterpiece and a holy hell: Watching it, you feel you're being punished for a crime you didn't commit. Which puts you, come to think of it, in the same frame of mind as those poor Magdalene girls.


Variety by David Rooney

Mullan's increased maturity as a director is evident in his skill at manipulating light and dark dramatic tones, and shifting between moods of anger and plaintive melancholy.


Christian Science Monitor by David Sterritt

A pungent, powerful film that points an accusing finger not at religious beliefs but at flawed human institutions. It also targets social and cultural mores that are almost medieval in their patriarchal bias against girls and women.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

A disturbing and compelling motion picture that depicts the forces that try to suppress the human spirit, and the strength of these girls in overcoming it.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

The Magdalene Sisters would be too painful to watch if it didn't have a silver lining. Suffice it to say that it is possible to fly over this religious cuckoo's nest and remain free. All it takes is courage and the timely kindness of strangers.

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