|Index||2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I absolutely loved this film and was lucky enough to catch it on the
big screen at my local Gate Cinema in Notting Hill. What I loved most
is how unique it felt, like a breath of fresh air. So many films I go
to see disappoint and seem to be emulating something else or at least
trying to but this stand alone film seemed to have its own voice.
There were so many lovely little stories interwoven into the plot and for me it was a joy to see such wonderful actresses in an ensemble cast so fluidly working together. I laughed at the individual quirks and relationships that were going on in the convent and at the same time it really made me cry too at the sudden death of the young girl's mother. I can see how this may be construed by some catholic priests as controversial with Sister Ignatious (Brenda Blethyn) performing last rights as I know this is not supposed to be done by a woman. I became equally aware of some of the subtext going on throughout the script regarding all sorts of controversial views held by the Church that I think we all question these days, let alone the nuns themselves as in this film.
I applaud the filmmakers and cast for being so brave with what I gather was a tiny budget. Great to see Susannah York playing with such gusto, it reminded me of Black Narcissus and the oppressive atmosphere there, only this time the convent is in Kent and not The Hymalayas.
Highly recommended for something different.
I saw this film at the 2009 Cambridge Film Festival and at the time it
made me very angry, almost (but not quite) angry enough to walk out. I
had been intrigued and attracted by the scenario, ostensibly tackling
the respectable issue of how a young person can recognise a religious
calling in today's secular Britain, but (in my opinion) this promising
set-up was betrayed in almost all respects and the result, I felt, was
a dreadful film, a waste of money, talent and time. Upon arriving home
I wrote a scathing assessment for the Festival web-site, upon which
this review is based.
Where to start. The story turned out to be a completely over-the top amalgam of all the religious-community based melodramatic excesses you have seen before. The script was abysmal, unable to decide if it was drama, humour or what? It was certainly farcical. The direction was technically adequate, but no more. Strangely, the relentless clarity and brightness of the DV image made things worse, not better, and I thought that film score composers had moved on from the mandatory use of the bassoon to underline moments of comic effect.
I came out of the screening with two questions circling in my mind: how on earth did such an array of prestigious British acting talent come to be associated with this project? And how did the funding agencies ever imagine it was a good idea? Interestingly, my Film Festival review appeared alongside a couple of others which took a completely opposite view! This left me thinking maybe I had totally missed the point of the film. Maybe it was some kind of post-modern, post-feminist, ironic celebration of the choices available to women in 2009 Britain. But if this was the case, it was far too clever for me....
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