The Magdalene Sisters

Watch The Magdalene Sisters

"In a place that defied belief their only hope was each other."
  • R
  • 2002
  • 1 hr 59 min
  • 7.7  (28,287)
  • 83

The Magdalene Sisters is a 2002 film that explores the lives of three young Irish women who are forced to enter Magdalene Asylums, also known as Magdalene laundries. The Magdalene Asylums were run by Roman Catholic nuns and were designed to house so-called "fallen women," who were seen as a disgrace to family and society. These women were sent there to work in the laundries, and were often subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

The film follows the lives of Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone), and Rose (Dorothy Duffy), who are sent to the Magdalene Asylum in the 1960s for various reasons. Margaret was raped by her cousin at a family wedding, and her family is ashamed of her. Bernadette is an unwed mother who is forced to give up her child. Rose is sent to the asylum by her father, who sees her as a burden.

The three girls are immediately stripped of their identities and forced to work in the laundry. They are repeatedly humiliated, degraded, and abused by the nuns who run the asylum. The nuns force them to wear sackcloth, cut their hair short, and christen them with new names. The girls are not allowed to speak to each other or to anyone else, and are kept isolated from the outside world.

As the film progresses, tensions rise between the girls and the nuns, and each girl must find a way to survive in the brutal environment of the Magdalene Asylum. Margaret, the most rebellious of the three, stands up to the nuns and incurs their wrath. Bernadette falls in love with a young man who works at the asylum, but their relationship is forbidden. Rose, the quietest of the three, becomes increasingly withdrawn and isolated.

The Magdalene Sisters is a powerful and disturbing film that shines a light on the horrors that took place in the Magdalene Asylums. It is a bleak and unrelenting portrayal of the abuse that these women suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church. The performances by the three leads are exceptional, conveying the pain, anger, and despair of their characters with nuance and subtlety.

Director Peter Mullan deftly balances the bleakness of the subject matter with moments of tenderness and humanity. The relationships that develop between the girls are moving and heartfelt, and provide a glimmer of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.

The film also examines the complicity of Irish society in the abuse of these women. The Magdalene Asylums were not isolated instances of abuse, but were part of a larger system of misogyny and patriarchy that still exists in Ireland today. The film has been criticized by some for its depiction of Irish society as uniformly cruel and oppressive, but it is a powerful indictment of a system that allowed these abuses to continue for so long.

Overall, The Magdalene Sisters is a haunting and powerful film that sheds light on a dark chapter in Irish history. It is a difficult watch, but an important one.

The Magdalene Sisters is a 2002 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 83.

The Magdalene Sisters
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 59 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (28,287)
  • Metascore