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The Magdalene Sisters (2004)

Nora-Jane Noone , Dorothy Duff  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nora-Jane Noone, Dorothy Duff
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2004
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018D3L4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,336 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Magdalene Sisters" on IMDb

Special Features

  • British TV documentary on the same subject, "Sex on a Cold Climate"

Editorial Reviews

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

Product Description

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!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
99 of 103 people found the following review helpful
"The Magdalene Sisters" is a fact-based account of three young Irish women who were imprisoned in a Magdalene Laundry in Dublin in 1964. The original purpose of the ten Magdalene Laundries that were established in Ireland in the 19th century was to reform prostitutes. Women were imprisoned by the State and Church and expected to do penance for their sins through hard work and prayer. By 1930, instead of being populated by former prostitutes, Ireland's Magdalene Laundries were occupied primarily by unwed mothers whose families had rejected them. An estimated 30,000 Irish women were detained in the Laundries during the 20th century, until the last one closed in 1996, and were used as a slave labor force, working from dawn until dusk to turn a profit for the Order that administered the Laundries.
"The Magdalene Sisters" tells the stories of Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), who is sent away from her home after being raped at a family wedding, Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone), whose caretakers at the orphanage where she grew up banish her to the Laundry to prevent her good looks from causing any trouble, and Rose (Dorothy Duffy), who is scorned by her family after bearing a child out of wedlock. These three teenagers arrive at the Magdalene asylum at the same time and together bear its abuses and indignities over the course of years. The three lead actresses give fine performances. Geraldine McEwan and Eileen Walsh give stand-out performances as Sister Bridget, chief administrator of the asylum, and Crispina, a mentally challenged inmate, respectively. The film does portray the Irish Catholic Church in a bad light -at least the small part of it that we see.
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WORDS ALONE CANNOT DESCRIBE THIS TRAGEDY!!!!! June 6, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I just finished watching this movie and I am extremely disturbed. The story is filled with so much hate and so much blatant bigotry that my hands are actually shaking as I sit here and type this. No movie has ever touched me as "The Magdalene Sisters" did.
First, let me just say that all the men in this movie are disgusting, repugnant COWARDS!! The men can do no wrong while the ladies have to sacrifice for no apparent reason. That is terribly unjust.
The Magdalene House is a jail-like home. It's run by pedophile priests that enjoy taking advantage of handicapped ladies and sadistic nuns that get personal pleasure out of abusing the ladies that live there.
The movie revolves around 3 young ladies that were sent to a Magdalene House; each for different reasons. One of the young ladies was raped, another was too pretty, and another had a child out of wedlock. What exactly was their crime that caused them to be locked up for years and years you might be asking? After all, they were being punished and told that they were good-for-nothing sinners! Their crime was: female sexuality! Apparently, the Catholic Church of Ireland found that to be the ultimate crime. And, as a result they punished these poor young ladies mercilessly.
There is only one shining light in this very evil movie. That is at the very end when two of the young ladies escape. They were courageous enough to get out and free themselves of all beatings, hate, and sexual abuse.
Thousands of women more were enslaved in these concentration camps until their pitiful deaths. Words along cannot describe this tragedy.
This movie is a true story which took place in Ireland. Thank you to Peter Mullen for making a movie about this topic.
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91 of 101 people found the following review helpful
For much of the 20th century in Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church operated a string of laundries, the Magdalene Asylums, where very young women accused of "moral crimes" were sent
to work and repent of their evil ways in a cathartic vision of cleansing the soul while cleaning the laundry. These so-called "moral crimes" were broadly defined as becoming pregnant, getting
raped or even flirting with boys or being overly attractive and thus committing the sin of vanity.
In the asylum's history, over 30,000 women were incarcerated, endured the Catholic Churches discipline systems and many died there. Often sexually abused and assaulted by priests, sexually humiliated, assaulted, shamed and beaten within an inch of their lives by their masochistic caretakers, the nuns - those "sweet sisters of mercy".
As a shocker, The last of these horrendous Catholic laundries closed in 1996.
Scottish actor-writer-director Peter Mullan sets the story in 1964, the high-water mark for tension between our modern society and old-line Catholicism.
The story centers on three very young women who were surreptitiously marched off to repent and be slaves for life to the Holy Catholic Church and their "pious" service of community.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, Gripping, Important
I was devastated after watching this. I do believe that this happened and that the attitudes that foster this kind of treatment of people exist. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Ken Mccormick
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes one really dislike the Catholic church....
...even more than ever! The 'laundries' of the Catholic church were well known for centuries, places where girls who had babies out of wedlock were sent by their families; they... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Bonbon
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting movie
As a fallen away Catholic, I was amazed at the way these girls were treated by the Church. Disgusting and dehumanizing.
Published 12 days ago by Lawrence G. Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful movie!
Beautiful, crude, toughing.... simply brilliant! After we finished watching we couldn't help but undertake extra research on the topic! I highly recommend this film!
Published 12 days ago by RAndreassen
5.0 out of 5 stars lost girls
The movie was very interesting, to say the least. Based on a true story, about young women, sent to this place in the name of repenting. Read more
Published 14 days ago by patricia jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking to say the least
Very sad and a bit hard to believe. It is very absorbing to watch, but I think it was exaggerated to make for a good story. Possibly some of it may be true - if so, very sad.
Published 20 days ago by Marie S. Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See
The Magdalene Sisters is a powerful movie that will haunt you long after you're done watching the movie. It's an incredible story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MysticSpinner
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and haunting...most of all true
I gave this movie 5 stars which it deserves for depicting in explicit detail with excellent acting the horrors endured by thousands of young girls in Ireland up until 1996 in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by TruthForever
4.0 out of 5 stars More eductional than entertainment
Very informative but sad. An eye opener for sure. The story draws you in to the experience.
Empathy for the abused women is the predominate feeling.
Published 1 month ago by Tallinthought
5.0 out of 5 stars Magdalene Sisters
Excellent show of how much power the church had and little power the girls had!!! Glad to know the last laundry finally closed in 1996.
Published 1 month ago by C. G. Mulford
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