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It's 1963 in rural Massachusetts, and Nora James has the usual worries of an eleven year-old girl:lipstick, first crushes, staying out of trouble at school...not easy when your teacher is the elderly Sister Concilia. And even harder when your parents are struggling to heal from an almost unbearable loss. Then tragedy strikes another Massachusetts family, the Kennedys, and shatters the fragile bonds holding the James family together, Nora, sent to live with her brittle Aunt Rose, soon learns who she is, what she wants, and what she must do to achieve it. She makes a decision that is both cruel and courageous. Nora's choice unlocks the way to what amounts to the rescue of her family. Written by
Maureen Foley, writer/director of the film
At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I think that this is a story written by a woman, for women. The terrible circumstances that cause the girl's sadness should have made me feel sympathy. Instead, I was annoyed at her sullen, ungrateful attitude. I had to keep reminding myself that she was surviving in the only way she knew how... but the hurtful way she treated her uptight, misguided aunt, made me dislike her even more. She seemed less the victim than a brooding narcissist. On the other hand, the old nun's part was played beautifully. Her performance made the whole movie worth watching.
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