6.6/10
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40 user 58 critic

Novitiate (2017)

R | | Drama | 20 January 2017 (USA)
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1:54 | Trailer
Set in the early 1960s and during the era of Vatican II, a young woman in training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, the changing church and sexuality.

Director:

Maggie Betts

Writer:

Maggie Betts
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa Leo ... Reverend Mother
Lisa Stewart ... Sister Genevieve (as Lisa Stewart Seals)
Alyssa Brindley Alyssa Brindley ... Sister Kate
Chelsea Lopez ... Sister Charlotte
Liana Liberato ... Sister Emily
Eline Powell ... Sister Candace
Margaret Qualley ... Sister Cathleen
Morgan Saylor ... Sister Evelyn
Rebecca Dayan ... Sister Emanuel
Hannah Renèe Jackson ... Sister Anne
Marco St. John ... Father Luca
Julianne Nicholson ... Nora Harris
Eliza Stella Mason ... Cathleen Age 7 (as Eliza Mason)
Bill Shick ... Local Priest
Danny Vinson ... Rob - Church Usher
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Storyline

1964. Cathleen Harris, in her late teens, has resided at the Convent of the Beloved Rose in her home state in the American south for close to two years, first as a postulant for six months, before taking her first vows to become a novice. Unlike the other postulants and novices, Sister Cathleen was raised in a household without religion, let alone Catholicism. As such, her decision to become a nun, which went against her divorced mother's wishes, may be more secure in her mind than her colleagues for which this life course may be more bred within them. The convent is led by the Mother Abbess, Reverend Mother Marie Saint Clare, whose entire life is this convent off of where she not stepped foot in forty years. Reverend Mother believes she is the voice of God within the walls of the convent, and thus does not tolerate any of the sisters questioning her authority. She also believes that the Catholicism which she has known all her life is perfect. When she receives an edict regarding the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Release Date:

20 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Novitiate See more »

Filming Locations:

Nashville, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,724, 29 October 2017

Gross USA:

$580,346

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$580,346
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dianna Agron and Denis O'Hare both have worked with Ryan Murphy. See more »

Goofs

When Chuck comes home in the middle of dinner, Nora is holding the cutlery over her plate in a side shot. In the next shot, her arms are resting on the back of her chair and then she picks up her fork and eats. See more »

Quotes

[singing Exodus 4:15 repetitively]
Nuns: You shall speak to him / And put the words in his mouth / And I will be with your mouth / And with his mouth / And will teach you both what to do.
See more »

Connections

References The Nun's Story (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

We hymn Thee
Composed by Rachmaninoff
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User Reviews

Learn how tough the Church can be on its young women.
24 November 2017 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

Novitiate is not Audrey Hepburn's The Nun's Story, nor is it The Sound of Music, The Singing Nun, or countless other romances about happy nuns. It's closer to Doubt. This "expose" is merciless showing the almost Marines-like indoctrination of young girls, first to be postulants, then novices, then the real deal.

Although the film doesn't have drill sergeants, it has a super-committed Mother Superior (Melissa Leo). She will punish swiftly with, for instance, the girls kneeling to walk while saying Hail Mary's or disciplining themselves with knotted ropes. But the real torture is the interior questioning of the young women about even the existence of God.

Nevertheless they are moving to become "brides of Christ," which when they dress in bridal gowns for the actual marriage borders on satire, hokum, or downright pathos. As more than one postulant avers, "Where is He?" daily, the girls are giving themselves to God while not feeling the divine presence.

Perhaps the biggest problem is the emergence in the early '60's of Vatican II, that progressive body of prelates that liberalized the Church and demoted the nuns. So much for that disrespect as 90,000 pure souls took the last train outta there.

The central postulant, Cathleen (Margaret Qualley), has a tough time with her vocation, much less her attraction to another hopeful. The complications of sexual yearnings in young women is a nicely figurative way of showing the challenges of taking 17 year old girls from a normal life, which usually involves young men.

Cathleen's mother, Julianne Nicholson (Nora Harris), serves as the vox populi questioning the sanity of the process as she is losing her daughter to these unknown forces of religion. For Catholics, Novitiate is a confirmation; for non-Catholics it's a gloss on the complexity of Catholic faith.


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