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Agnes of God (1985)

PG-13 | | Drama, Mystery | 27 September 1985 (USA)
When a naive novice nun is discovered with a dead newborn in her convent quarters, a court-appointed psychiatrist investigates her case.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (play)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Anne Pitoniak ...
Dr. Livingston's Mother
Winston Rekert ...
Detective Larry Langevin
Gratien Gélinas ...
Father Martineau
Guy Hoffmann ...
Justice Joseph Leveau (as Guy Hoffman)
...
Monsignor
Françoise Faucher ...
Eve LeClaire
Jacques Tourangeau ...
Eugène Lyon
Janine Fluet ...
Sister Marguerite
Deborah Grover ...
Sister Anne
Michele George ...
Sister Susanna
Samantha Langevin ...
Sister Jeannine
Jacqueline Blais ...
Sister David Marie
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Storyline

At a convent, fragile, unearthly Sister Agnes gives birth, but the child dies and Agnes retains no memory of the event. The police soon are involved because of the death of the baby. However, the main conflict is between Mother Superior Miriam Ruth, who wants Agnes left alone, and Dr. Martha Livingston, a psychiatrist determined to help Agnes gain a stronger grasp on reality and uncover any wrongdoers. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What unspeakable crime took place behind the third floor window? Only Agnes knows. And Dr. Martha Livingston is the one person who can unravel the mystery.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

27 September 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agnes de Dios  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The production notes for the film state: "Director [Norman] Jewison and playwright John Pielmeier first met in December 1983 to discuss ways to turn a very theatrical play into a movie. Translated into seven languages and performed in fourteen countries, the play was originally written for three actresses on a bare stage." See more »

Goofs

During the most profound scene where Agnes receives the stigmata, the audio boom is visible for at least five seconds. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Martha Livingston: Smoking is an obsession with me. Maybe someday I'll become obsessed with something else and give up smoking.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood vs. Religion (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Absorbing film
7 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After a nun gives birth, the baby is found strangled in a wastepaper basket. A psychiatrist is brought in to judge the woman's sanity. The film is "Agnes of God," based on the successful Broadway play and inspired by an incident that occurred in my home town of Rochester, New York. It unites three powerful actresses - Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft, and Meg Tilly in this intriguing story of belief, truth, and perception.

Fonda is the psychiatrist who comes to the idyllic, French Canadian convent setting and first meets the mother superior (Bancroft), a nun with a few secrets, who is opposed to having Agnes, the young woman who had the baby, questioned. Agnes is a pure, childlike girl who hears voices, talks to spirits, doesn't know how babies are born, and claims she never had one. Is she delusional as the result of abuse as a child? Was she raped? Is she insane? The performances in "Agnes of God" are extraordinary. Fonda is brilliant as a woman of science who has long ago turned her back on God, and Meg Tilly gives a breakout performance as the translucent, innocent Agnes. The dramatic scene which ends with Fonda saying, "I love you...As much as God loves you" was one of the most moving in the film.

The powerhouse role, played on stage by Geraldine Page, is that of the mother superior, and what better actress for this than the fantastic Anne Bancroft. She is tough, vulnerable, funny, fierce and warm as a woman trying to protect her delicate charge from the horrors of the world. She and Fonda play beautifully together, whether bonding or fighting, as Fonda strips away the layers to find the truth.

It's so rare to see a film with three great female roles, and to see them all essayed so well in an excellent story. For this reason, Agnes of God is a great, provocative film that will keep you thinking about it long after it's over.


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