6.6/10
2,638
34 user 55 critic

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.

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:

Genç Rahibeler See more »

Filming Locations:

Nashville, Tennessee, USA See more »

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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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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Premiered at 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie, a train is seen that consists of double stack container cars. The movie is set in the early 1960's but double stack containers were not introduced until 1984. 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

 
Another reason for people who think the Catholic Church is diabolical to keep thinking it
24 November 2017 | by alythgoeopSee all my reviews

Well, I hardly know where to begin in describing how sad, tedious and inaccurate this film is. I have been a happy and healthy Dominican Sister for over 40 years, and I was optimistic that this would be a good film. I'm really sorry I wasted two hours on it. It does not do justice to the times, the complexity of the changes that began to emerge with Vatican II, and it is not even accurate in describing the process of becoming a nun. So I just wonder where Margaret Betts got her information. Did she interview anybody who actually stayed and found happiness in religious life? I doubt it.

There was no joy, no sense of companionship or sense of being part of something exciting. No real narrative about what the impact of Vatican II had on Catholic thought, just a few superficial conversations between the Archbishop and the Reverend Mother. It is a bleak and morose story of postulant Cathleen's struggle to survive a mean and closed minded mother superior whose ego should have driven her to confession.

Too bad, this could have been a great story, with compelling dialogue, dramatic tension, and a breakthrough moment of personal change. Instead it was a painful exaggeration of the predictable inaccurate stereotypes of Catholic Sisters, complete with Nun-Zilla. It gives people who have always hated the Catholic Church a good reason to keep hating it.

Margaret Betts was scheduled to Skype in and have a conversation with the audience at the theater we attended. I'm kind of glad she could not make it. The sisters in the audience would have had a hard time coming up with something nice to say.


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