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82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcendent!
This magnificent film of 1957 still shines in all its luminosity after 50 years. It reminds us of the heights to which Hollywood could rise in the old studio system, which invested its resources on quality: the actors, the director, the music, the costumes, and the splendid genuine locations, from the canals and bridges of Bruges and Antwerp to the sweeping expanse of the...
Published on 1 July 2007 by F. S. L'hoir

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nun's story
This is a good film, telling the story of a young woman who decides to become a nun. This film is very good in giving you a idea of how challenging becoming a nun was during the world war years and the dedication involved. I did enjoy watching this film.
Published 17 months ago by J J


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82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcendent!, 1 July 2007
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
This magnificent film of 1957 still shines in all its luminosity after 50 years. It reminds us of the heights to which Hollywood could rise in the old studio system, which invested its resources on quality: the actors, the director, the music, the costumes, and the splendid genuine locations, from the canals and bridges of Bruges and Antwerp to the sweeping expanse of the Congo river (The scenes at the leper colony, among many others, are fascinating.). "The Nun's Story" allows us to glimpse a slice of history of the 1930s, as it unfolds on two continents. It gives us a look back into a society, both sacred and secular, that World War II was to change irrevocably.

The superb performances of Audrey Hepburn, Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans, Mildred Natwick, and Peter Finch speak for themselves, and it would be superfluous of me to comment on them further.

I merely wonder how many of the hundreds of films now churned out in Hollywood every year (the millions of dollars spent making them; their celebrity actors; their special effects) will still shine as brightly as "The Nun's Story" 50 years from now?

Relatively few, I think!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hepburn at her best!, 19 Oct 2009
By 
Ms. B. A. Fisher (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
This film tells the story of a young Belgian girl (Hepburn), who decides to dedicate her life to Christ,and enter a convent, although her family do not entirely approve. We follow Sister Luke through her noviciate (trainee nun), to her becoming a Bride of Christ. But she is also a very knowledgible nursing sister, who wishes more than anything to work in the Congo. She attends the school of tropical medicine,which will be required for overseas nursing. However,another nun is increasingly jealous of her abilities, and Sister Luke is persuaded to deliberately fail her final exams so that the other sister will pass, and therefore travel to the Congo in her place.
Sister Luke is given a posting in a lunatic asylum, which is quite horrifying to watch, and becomes increasingly unhappy. Finally, her posting arrives, and she travels to the Congo to work as a theatre sister. There she meets the charismatic Dr Fortunati (Peter Finch), and slowly but surely, the nursing takes over from the religious part of her life. She recovers from a bout of TB, but with war looming in Europe, she is sent home to the Mother House in Belgium.
Sister Luke finds it impossible to settle in at home, and when her Mother Superior tells her that she must treat all patients the same, be they Belgian or German, she finds she is unable to comply, and so leaves the religious order for good.
Great film, very moving and also it's very informative of life in a religious order.Great acting and fantastic cinematography make this movie a must to see!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic conflict, 2 Jan 2005
This review is from: The Nun's Story [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This wonderful movie evokes a great sense of time before WWII when the convent was a desirable destination for many young women in Catholic Europe. Hepburn was never lovelier or better and acts more with her eyes than many modern 'stars' can do with their entire bodies.
The focus of the film is the eternal conflict between self and duty. It starts as Hepburn leaves the sheltered home of her Father where she has been substitute mother since her Mother's death, choosing the Church over home responsibilities to her Father's chagrin. It continues through the conflict of personal choice versus the teachings of the Church and hinges around a scene where she is asked to flunk an exam to show devotion to the Church.
The central portion moves to Africa and injects sensuality in spades and Peter Finch glowers and exudes sex appeal enough to melt any wimple!! Sister Luke is not so much conflicted by his presence as ripped apart. Conflict again between old and new religions ends in tragedy. The later phase is at the beginning of the war where obedience to the Church clashes full pelt with her feelings of nationalism and family loyalty. Is the ending inevitable?
The photography in this film is very good, almost worthy of Powell and Pressburger, especially in the scenes where the novices become nuns. The concept of the Church and being a nun may not speak as loudly to us in this time, but the theme of conflict, personal will versus the good of others, is eternal. A great Sunday afternoon film and a classic of that period.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and unsentimental, 27 Feb 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
Warner's beautifully restored DVD of The Nun's Story is a real surprise, avoiding the mawkish sentimentality that usually accompanied old Hollywood's approach to Catholicism with a sober, quiet unostentatious majesty and a mostly successful attempt to avoid cliché (there's no romance with Peter Finch's surgeon as you might expect). Fred Zinnemann, who now seems on the verge of being completely forgotten, constantly does things slightly differently - not just jump cutting from continent to continent, but avoiding convention in subtle ways. When Sister Luke departs for the Congo, not only is her departure handled in the bare minimum of shots but they're also not the ones you usually expect: no head on shots of the ship leaving for the open sea, but instead zooming out from a sideways view before cutting to the ship's wake. The visual economy never feels Spartan, but at the same time it fits the subject matter perfectly.

Audrey Hepburn too is something of a revelation. Too often an irritatingly kooky pixie clotheshorse, here she abandons many of her usual affectations that you either find charming or maddening to give the kind of sincere and grounded performance that was too rarely asked of her. It's a quietly powerful and surprisingly honest film that stands up to the test of time. Shame that for some reason Zinnemann gets Dean Jagger to voice one of the bit players as well, which briefly takes you out of the movie before a sudden act of unexpected violence shocks you back in, but there's little else to fault in it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, 2 Sep 2010
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
In Bruges, in 1930, a bright and willful young woman (Audrey Hepburn) enters a convent and undergoes rigorous training for the religious life. As Sister Luke, her dream of serving as a nurse in the Belgian Congo is finally realized, but she develops a life-threatening illness. When she eventually returns to the strict confines of the mother house, her years-long struggle to follow the rule of obedience and the outbreak of WWII bring about a crisis of conscience.

I first saw this movie in 1960 and it had a huge effect on me; I'm glad to say I found it just as powerful today. It is a deeply reverential look at traditional religious life and a fine character study of a young woman who strives to conform to the restraints of her vocation. Audrey Hepburn is so young and serenely beautiful and shows great emotional range; I'm sure she inspired many girls to consider religious life.

Partially filmed in Belgium and the Congo, the movie is beautiful and timeless. It is adapted from Kathryn C. Hulme's source novel which was based on the life of a real nun. Highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obedience, 20 Dec 2008
By 
W. Hamilton (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
This film could have been a great deal less than it is. Putting a young and glamorous film star into a nun's habit has on other occasions (e.g. Jennifer Jones in "The Song of Bernadette") produced some of the phoniest images ever projected onto a screen (or, for that matter, digitised). Fred Zinnemann is not interested in celluloid sainthood - but he does seem to be genuinely interested in exploring the motivations and pitfalls of a religious vocation, and portraying the timeless routines of community life in a European nunnery in the 1930s. Of course, Audrey Hepburn occupies the lense much of the time, but she herself is a lense through which we see much more than the affected piety and postures of what Hollywood usually mistakes for the transcendental. The supporting cast are uniformly strong. The script is restrained and the dialogue credible. The religious life is much changed since the days here depicted, but there is a univeral story at the heart of this film: the struggle between the will of an individual and the rule of a community - the freedom gained, but the tranquility lost, through disobedience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film I keep learning from, 8 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
I first watched this film in my native Mozambique in 1969. It was the first time I saw Audrey Hepburn and perhaps because I had just come into puberty I fell in love with her and I guess I am still in love with her and in particular with nun she portrays in this film.

I have seldom seen such purity and honesty in acting. Being a Catholic, I have had the privilege to meet many nuns and priests and to discuss many things, religious and otherwise, with them, and I find this film peopled with absolutely credible characters. Inevitably, however lofty your purpose might be in life a nun or a priest is still a human being and therefore open to temptation and sin.

This film manages to convey all that with flowing subtlety while suggesting the underlying tensions of the surrounding world - be it in Africa or in Europe - and the impact they have on the pursuit of faith.

Audrey was never better and the same has to be said of Peter Finch and Mildred Dunnock. But ultimately the highest accolade of all has to go to Fred Zinnemann for an impeccable direction and for the intelligent treatment of a subject matter that could have easily slipped out of control.

It was a film well ahead of its time when it came out in 1958, it remains timeless today, and it carries that greatest lesson of all, regardless of your faith: To thyself be true.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memorable!!, 5 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
I finally watched this last night and being a massive fan of audrey hepburn i think this is defo one of her best performances she is brilliant.this film is a must see and i didnt know what to expect but i found it so interesting and really did keep me interested till the end.Being a catholic myself I didnt realise just how tough it was to be a nun back then its a really good insight and i found myself wanting sister luke to leave towards the end and was glad when she did,she remained so strong even when it was so hard to be, like when she had to fail her exam or she didnt get 2 work in the hospital she wanted.stayed in my mind long after watching and was very powerful,and the way it was shot and the locations were great
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life of a Nun, 28 Mar 2010
By 
Kenneth C. Deas (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
When I last saw this film about forty years ago, I found it absolutely enthralling. When I watched the DVD version recently, it was equally enthralling. As a non-Catholic, I find it difficult to understand why any young girl should wish to be a nun. The film, however, shows a determined young girl who leaves her friends and family in order to join an Order of Nuns who care for others. We follow her as she learns more about the religious life and embarks on her academic studies. After an initial setback, she achieves her ambition and is sent to the Congo to work as a nurse.
We also learn more about the Roman Catholic Church. In many ways it is very caring. It is also very strict and can be extremely hard-hearted. I enjoyed the film and intend to watch it again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcendent!, 1 July 2007
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This magnificent film of 1957 still shines in all its luminosity after 50 years. It reminds us of the heights to which Hollywood could rise in the old studio system, which invested its resources on quality: the actors, the director, the music, the costumes, and the splendid genuine locations, from the canals and bridges of Bruges and Antwerp to the sweeping expanse of the Congo river (The scenes at the leper colony, among many others, are fascinating.). "The Nun's Story" allows us to glimpse a slice of history of the 1930s, as it unfolds on two continents. It gives us a look back into a society, both sacred and secular, that World War II was to change irrevocably.

The superb performances of Audrey Hepburn, Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans, Mildred Natwick, and Peter Finch speak for themselves, and it would be superfluous of me to comment on them further.

I merely wonder how many of the hundreds of films now churned out in Hollywood every year (the millions of dollars spent making them; their celebrity actors; their special effects) will still shine as brightly as "The Nun's Story" 50 years from now?

Relatively few, I think!
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The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959]
The Nun's Story [DVD] [1959] by Fred Zinnemann (DVD - 2006)
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