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Novitiate (2017)

R | | Drama | 20 January 2017 (USA)
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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.

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4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Sister Candace
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Sister Mary Grace
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Nora Harris
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Sister Emily
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Sister Evelyn
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Chuck Harris
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Archbishop McCarthy
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Sister Sissy
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Sister Margaret
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Sister Emanuel
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Sister Charlotte
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Father Luca
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Professed Nun
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Release Date:

20 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Genç Rahibeler  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,724, 29 October 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$580,346, 11 February 2018
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Margaret Qualley and Chris Zylka previously worked together in HBO's "The Leftovers." 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.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Spiegel Im Spiegel
Performed by Arvo Pärt
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User Reviews

Learn how tough the Church can be on its young women.
24 November 2017 | by See 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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