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The Magdalene Sisters [DVD] [2003]

4.7 out of 5 stars 238 customer reviews

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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 Sept. 2003
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AZVEN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,841 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

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

Top Customer Reviews

By Mr. Joe 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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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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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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Format: DVD
Possibly the film of the year. The Magdalene laundries operated in Ireland till 1996. "Fallen" women were taken into these institutions to wash the vestements and wimples of priests and nuns.
The story follows three women who enter one such institution.
One has a child out of wedlock, one feeling the first pangs of puberty, one raped by her cousin. We follow their lives inside, victim of the whims of the satantic Mother Superior (superbly played by Geraldine McEwan).
Although this sound dark-and it is, at times unbearably powerful-there are moments of dark humour inside. In these terms, I would compare it to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - I can pay it no higher compliment.
Writer director Peter Mullan (who also cameo's as one of the girl's Father) has crafted a small, powerful, angry, funny masterpiece. The film only loses it's way in the last 10 minutes, when we found out what happens to the girls after they leave the laundry. Although all the stories are based on real ones, this mix of fantasy and reality never really works.
This is not, as it's critics would have you believe a vicious piece of anti-catholic propaganda. It is enourmously respectful of faith and belief, it just points out as Graves said: "the true fiend rules in god's name."
Go and buy it. As a footnote, know that Magdalene laundries are still in existance in India and Eastern Europe.
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Format: DVD
I had to keep pinching myself repeatedly throughout this film to remind me that it was a TRUE story about events that only recently ceased. The powerful performances from Geraldine McEwan et al, bring home the dehumanisation of women who have done no wrong, save for "offending" the catholic belief system. This is not a film to be enjoyed, but one to watch and think about, because although these institutions no longer exist in Ireland, who says they don't exist elsewhere run by the same "saviours"?
For anyone involved in human rights, this film is a must because it shows that no matter how squeaky clean an organisation professes to be, there is always a much darker side.
Given the subject and the way the truth hits the viewer, it is little wonder that this was filmed in Scotland - not Ireland.
May God forgive these evil women for what they did to those poor girls, because I cannot.
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Format: DVD
This film grabs you from the very begining to the very end. Mullan has opted for a 'naked truth' approach, stripped off any effects that would lead the sentiments to a certain direction, he leaves that to the powerful images and plot.( for example striking is the lack of music on all the shocking scenes of torture etc.)
Aided by the magnificent performances and the strong subject matter, Mullan delivers a film that operates on many levels, touching upon many issues, such as religious oppression, women's struggles etc.
One of the very few films that has made me cry with anger and sadness all five times that I've watched it.
Not recommended to strong-minded catholics. Essential viewing for everyone else.
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