A movie guaranteed to make the blood boil, The Magdalene Sisters
gives a lacerating account of life inside a Magdalene Laundry, one of the dismal asylums for "wayward women" run by the Catholic Church in Ireland. Director Peter Mullan, inspired by a TV documentary on the same subject, follows the miserable fates of three young women who are institutionalized in the 1960s for flimsy reasons; their lives are at the mercy of sadistic nuns (Geraldine McEwan is superb as the head of the place). The film sounds tortuous, but its rich sense of outrage and excellent performances--Nora-Jane Noone is a real discovery--make it consistently gripping. The movie won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and went on to become a box-office hit in Ireland, where the Magdalene system was still a fresh memory. It had been abolished only in 1996. --Robert Horton
A stirring, must-see motion picture critics called one of the best films of the year, THE MAGDALENE SISTERS is the triumphant story of three extraordinary women whose courage to defy a century of injustice would inspire a nation! Abandoned by society and cast out by their families for crimes they did not commit, these women found themselves stripped of their liberty and dignity and condemned to indefinite sentences of manual labor. Within the church-run Magdalene Laundries, these women were forced into unbearable institutional servitude in order to cleanse themselves of the "sins" of which they had been accused. From acclaimed director Peter Mullan, this award-winning powerhouse not only reveals the truth behind one of the great tragedies of our time, but celebrates the bravery that would bring it to an end!