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The Magdalene Sisters [DVD] [2003]


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Product details

  • Actors: Eileen Walsh, Dorothy Duffy, Nora-Jane Noone, Anne-Marie Duff, Geraldine McEwan
  • Directors: Peter Mullan
  • Writers: Peter Mullan
  • Producers: Alan J. Wands, Andrea Occhipinti, Ed Guiney, Frances Higson, Paddy Higson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Sep 2003
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AZVEN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,068 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Based on the true accounts of the Magdalene laundries in Ireland, which eventually closed in 1996 after an estimated 30,000 women had been detained, this film follows the story of three of these young women in Dublin, 1964.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Oct 2003
Format: DVD
Why fear hell when already there?
As if the Holy Roman Catholic Church hasn't had enough PR problems lately, now there's THE MAGDALENE SISTERS.
Based on a true story, this film follows the experiences of three young Irish woman thrust into a Magdalene Asylum, administered by the Catholic Church through the Sisters of Mercy (aka THE MAGDALENE SISTERS), for perceived sexual immorality. Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), who dares cry "rape" after she's sexually assaulted by a cousin at a family wedding. Rose, who gives birth to an illegitimate child. Bernadette, already in an orphanage, who's just an outrageous flirt with the lads. In the asylum, the three join others, some having been detained for a lifetime, in a brutal 24/7 regimen of prayer, work, and sleep without contact with the outside world. The work involved 8-10 hours per day of unpaid toil, i.e. atonement for sin, in the institution's sweat shop laundry - a business that earned considerable money for the Church. The prisoners - for that's what they truly are - endure bad food, physical beatings, sexual abuse, psychological trauma, and abject humiliation at the hands of the nuns and priests.
The Magdalene Asylums were a feature of 20th century Ireland, places of incarceration reserved for "fallen" women, a flexible term that included anyone considered to be in moral peril. The plot of this film takes place in the early 1960s and stretches over four to five years. (The last Irish asylum was closed in 1996. It's estimated that approximately 30,000 women were incarcerated in these facilities over the decades. Interestingly, it was the advent of household washers and dryers that contributed to the end of the asylum laundries.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Mar 2004
Format: DVD
Just watched this wonderful, shocking, upsetting movie - aside from the praise given to the film in the other reviews here, I wanted to add that for those interested, director Peter Mullan was first inspired to make this movie by the Joni Mitchell song The Magdalene Launderies, from the album Turbulent Indigo. It certainly adds to your understanding of this horrible chapter in history.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Sep 2003
Format: DVD
This is a powerful and compelling film which is superbly written and directed by Peter Mullen. The acting is first class, with outstanding and believable performances by the entire cast.
If you like lightweight stuff churned out of the hollywood machine, then this film is probably not for you. However, if you enjoy a powerful story that is crafted to the highest quality, a film that will move you emotionally and make you think, then buy this film and watch it...then watch it again. It is truly superb. You will not be dissapointed.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Nov 2003
Format: VHS Tape
The Magdalene Sisters really does live up to its reputation as a shocking and thought provoking film thats truly well worth watching. The film is a gripping testament to the human spirit and the story is brilliantly acted throughout, the fact thats its based on true events so close to our times makes it even more moving. Be prepared for somewhat disturbing scenes but also for a truly amazing film that i strongly recommend to anyone.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Feb 2005
Format: DVD
I can't believe this topic isn't more widely recognized. The film is brilliantly played, mostly by all new actresses. The film has helped put the Church in the spotlight and many women to talk about their pasts in these places.
Lots of other reviews tell you what it's about...I know it sounds terrible, but really it's a superbly done film on a topic you should have a lot of feelings about, especially people living here in the UK where these things happened until more recently than anyone would like to admit
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Fernandez on 31 May 2004
Format: DVD
It is shocking to watch a movie that is based on a true story and that shows the events this one shows. In Ireland, until the end of the twentieth century, there were "nun schools" all over the country. Girls were abandoned there by their families or tutors entering a world of slavery, having to work doing laundry for outside contractors and being treated like prisoners in a labor farm. The director, Peter Mullan, did an outstanding job in conveying to the public the conditions in which the girls spent their hours, as well as depicting the eroding effect the situation had on their hopes, ambitions, and even basic personality traits.
The tale focuses on three female adolescents, who end up in the infamous reformatory for different reasons. Margaret is raped by her cousin on a family wedding, and when minutes after the fact she tells a friend, the "secret" is shared with everyone. Her father cannot stand the shame and hauls her off to her miserable destination. Bernadette is happy living in an orphanage, but she is also beautiful and enjoys the attention she is getting from the boys in the neighborhood. The director of the orphanage starts to get concerned and sends her away. Rose is a single mother who has just given birth to a beautiful baby. Her parents bring in a priest to convince her to give the baby up in adoption, and once she surrenders to their wishes, her reward is to pay a long visit to the nuns.
The motto of the Magdalene sisters is to deny pleasures and seek cleansing through non-stop working. Moreover, they force the girls to pray every night, and the discipline is worse than in the strictest military school.
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