The Stone Angel (2007) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In Manitoba, Hagar Shipley is nearing 90. She has little, she tells us, but her memories. Over several weeks, during which she runs away from her son and daughter-in-law who want to place her in a nursing home, returning to the small town where she grew up and the now-derelict farmhouse where she was married and raised two sons, we follow Hagar in the present and in memories that trace her childhood, marriage in defiance of her father, and later losses. She's fiercely even foolishly proud. Can she make peace with anyone she loves, or is she left to rage against the dying of the light?

  • Now in the twilight of her life, Hagar Shipley née Currie currently lives with her eldest son Marvin Shipley and daughter-in-law Doris Shipley, who want, against her wishes, to place her in a nursing home. Rather than go along with their wishes, Hagar decides to go on a journey, both literally and figuratively. She runs away to her old hometown of Manawaka, Manitoba, specifically to the now abandoned and dilapidated farmhouse where she lived with her husband, Bram Shipley and their two children. Along the way, she reminisces about her less than conventional and less than trouble-free life. That trouble basically stemmed from her relationships to those in her family: her father, Jason Currie, who disowned her when she got married to Bram; Bram, who had a different outlook on what was important in life, despite the two being compatible sexually; Marvin, who she saw as an extension of his father, and thus was often the neglected child; and younger son John Shipley, who she doted upon as having the "Currie" temperament within the family but who rebelled against her in his early adulthood. In her return to Manawaka, Hagar meets a drifter named Leo, who, in reminding her of John, makes her examine her past decisions more closely.

  • The witty, irascible and fiercely proud Hagar Shipley escapes from home when her son Marvin and daughter in law Doris tell her she must move into nursing care. She sets out on a journey to reconcile herself to a tumultuous past. Through her memories, we come to know her as the passionate and rebellious bride in a remote prairie town whose proud father disowns her when she marries the "wrong sort". Struggling to get to the safe haven of an abandoned house she remembers near the ocean, memories take her in and out of the present. We experience with her the defining moments, hidden passions and characters of her past - her affluent but cold and demanding father; her husband Bram Shipley, a man who unleashes her passion for love and life, yet refuses to meet the rigid social standards she is driven by; and the children she bears, sons whose future becomes ruled by the past. While hiding in the dilapidated house, she meets a young man, Leo, who unwittingly causes Hagar to face her deepest secrets.

  • A 90-year-old woman, rapidly losing her memory and knowing that sooner or later her life will be over, returns to the Manitoba farmhouse she grew up in to try and make peace with her dysfunctional family.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The feisty aging Hagar Shipley has lived an unconventional life. Her rebellious heart has always ruled and her choices have put her at odds with family and friends. Faced with her own mortality, and desperate to find solace, she goes on the run. But haunting memories of the life she has led, the men she has passionately loved yet destroyed with her unrelenting pride, and the sons she has estranged catch up to Hagar on this momentous journey. In both the past and the present, she is forced to come to terms with the pain and pleasure, the disappointments and the exhilarations of her life. Based on the best selling novel by Margaret Laurence.

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