13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Nun's Story [DVD]  (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.