Friday, August 22, 2003

What I’m watching
The Magdalene Sisters

1. 'Why, they're a bunch of bloody Jansenists.' — A priest, talking about an institution with a few things in common with this historical horror.
2. You'd think, for all the historical details Peter Mullan (an ethnic-Irish Scot) got right, including the cruelty, he'd have got the liturgical things right.
3. A good friend grew up with American Sisters of St Joseph in the 1950s, before everything was ruined, and doesn't remember anything like this — he has nothing but good things to say about those nuns in that period.
4. In my life, I've been demeaned similarly though certainly not in kind or degree — by secular people, almost never by orthodox religious ones.
5. I've seen conservative Catholic stalwarts who are active in prolife treat unwed mothers, more than once, exactly the opposite of this.
6. There are some irritating lapses of honesty. Over the closing credits, Mullan invents a potted "what-happened-to" story for each character, implying that they are in themselves real. Mullan lied? Not cool.

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