- 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 (237 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0000AZVEN
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,048 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Magdalene Sisters [DVD] 
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good film, terrible how those women were treated by a religious institutionPublished 3 days ago by fishypete
This is a must watch Very dark and disturbing and challenges us to respond.
I was recommended this film to watch after listening to Professor Glynn Harrison. Read more
Excellent film, probably quite shocking if you never imagined it.Published 2 months ago by Steven thomas
I have used this to educate others as to what used to happen. So very sad. Item was sent quickly. Thank you.Published 2 months ago by Mrs. A. H. Armstrong