When a dead newborn is found, wrapped in bloody sheets, in the bedroom wastebasket of a young novitiate, psychiatrist Martha Livingston is called in to determine if the seemingly innocent novice, who knows nothing of sex or birth, is competent enough to stand trial for the murder of the baby. While searching for the answer that her supervisors want, Dr. Livingston finds herself inevitably drawn into searching for the truth about the baby's conception and death. Despite the lack of cooperation that she receives from her own organization and the church itself, she eventually discovers more than she may have bargained for.Written by
Screenwriter John Pielmeier has said of this film's script: "When we began working on the screenplay [director] Norman [Jewison] had the idea of setting most of our story in a convent in Québec [in Canada]. It allowed us to create an environment that would be unfamiliar and, I hope, interesting to the audience. It also allowed us to use two languages in the film. Some of the dialogue is in French [with most in English]." See more »
During the most profound scene where Agnes receives the stigmata, the audio boom is visible for at least five seconds. See more »
Doctor Martha Livingston:
I don't know the meaning behind the song she sang. Perhaps it was a song of seduction, and the father was a field hand. Perhaps the song was simply a lullaby she remembered from many years ago, and the father was hope, and love, and desire and a belief in miracles. I want to believe that she was blessed. And I do miss her. And I hope she's left something; some little part of herself with me. That would be miracle enough, wouldn't it?
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This is a superb film. It has great performances, specially from Meg Tilly, as the young nun who has fallen from grace. Neither she, the rest of the sisters, or the psychiatrist sent to investigate the case, can find a satisfactory explanation. What really impressed me about this movie is the way it confronts religious beliefs with skepticism, confrontation that, in turn, is transmitted to the viewer with all its questions. Is what happened a big lie, just the product of the imagination -or distorted faith- of a young woman?. Is it all God's plan?. If it is so, did he make a mistake?. Is it all a miracle gone wrong?
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