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The Calling (2009)

Joanna - a university student - leaves her course to become a nun.


Jan Dunn


Jan Dunn
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Brenda Blethyn ... Sister Ignatious
Emily Beecham ... Joanna
Susannah York ... The Prioress
Rita Tushingham ... Sister Gertrude
Amanda Donohoe ... Trish
Chloe Sirene ... Vivie
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Bark-Jones David Bark-Jones ... Vince
Nick Bartlett ... Eddie
Scarlett Bruns ... Nun
Susannah Harker ... Sister Ambrose
Annette Kneath Annette Kneath ... Clive's Mum
Pauline McLynn ... Sister Hilda
Corin Redgrave ... The Bishop
Justin Salinger ... Father Kieren
Joanna Scanlan ... Sister Kevin


Joanna is about to graduate from University with her whole life set up for her but she has decided to face up to a truth she has been avoiding her whole life. Since she was small, she has had the desire to become a Nun. She is set on joining a closed order of Benedictines. Her best friend cannot believe it, her boyfriend is devastated and her mother feels it's just a phase. The only encouragement she gets is from the family's religious housekeeper, Consuela. When she finally gets to the convent, the liberalism of a politically active Novice Sister, Ignatious and a bunch of women with border-line mental illness, including a psychotic Mother Superior, an alcoholic football fan in charge of the vineyard, an over-pious floor mopper, Sister Hilda to name a few at first makes her wonder if she's following the right path after all but as she gets to know the Sisters and the enormous community bond they all share and the spiritual love that connects them she starts to see glimpses of her own ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You enter for one reason, you stay for another.


Comedy | Drama


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Did You Know?


'Jan Dunn' and Elaine Wickham were introduced to Brenda Blethyn by Bob Hoskins when he brought her to the set of Ruby Blue. Jan pitched Sister Ignatious to Brenda - who said she'd been interviewed the day before and when asked if there is anything she'd like to do yet that she hadn't, she had said "play a nun in a closed order, so I don't have to learn any lines." See more »

User Reviews

Not a Good Film...
1 July 2010 | by shawcdbSee all my reviews

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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Release Date:

23 April 2010 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Ramsgate, Kent, England, UK See more »

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