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Magdalene Sisters | 2003 | R | - 8.6.6

Based on true events from the history of the Magdalene Asylum, a Catholic home for wayward girls in 1960s Ireland. The film recounts the lives of three young women who were condemned to indefinite sentences of servitude in the notorious Magdalene Laundries for various presumed trespasses: one had a child out of wedlock, one was flirtatious, and another had been raped by her cousin. While there they undergo various forms of abuse from the nuns and priests in residence. With Geraldine McEwan, Dorothy Duffy, Anne-Marie Duff, Eileen Walsh and Nora-Jane Noone. Directed by Peter Mullan. [1:59]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A boy kisses a girl, she pushes him away and slaps him on the head, and he leaves the room; he then slams the door open hitting her in the face, forces kisses on her, forces her to the floor and rapes her while covering her mouth to muffle her screams. We see a girl performing oral sex on a man (her head bobs back and forth) and it is suggested that they engage in intercourse and perhaps other sexual acts. A young man offers a girl money for sexual favors. A young man kisses a girl, she lifts her skirt and pulls down her panties for him to look at her and we see him looking for an extended period of time. There are many unsubtle references to girls being sexually promiscuous. Many girls are lined up, fully nude, forced to jog in place and then scrutinized by two women on the size of their breasts, buttocks, and other attributes (we see them fully nude). A man pulls off his clothes when his body breaks out in a rash and we see him nude from the back (bare buttocks). Boys talk to a girl and invite her to kiss them, and she flirts with them.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A boy kisses a girl, she pushes him away and slaps him on the head, and he leaves the room; he then slams the door open hitting her in the face, forces kisses on her, forces her to the floor and rapes her while covering her mouth to muffle her screams. A man beats a girl with a belt and threatens to injure her further (we see her later with a bruised face and lip. Two girls are caned on the backs of their thighs and we later see the marks. A girl is beaten in the face and back by a woman with a strap (the girl cowers on the floor and sobs). A girl is held by several women while another cuts her hair; her nose is cut and bleeds while she thrashes and we later see her eye and forehead caked with blood. A girl scratches a young man's face after he makes an unwelcome overture (we see him later with scratches). A girls struggles and screams as she is taken away by two men. A girl threatens to cut a woman with scissors, a girl threatens women with a candle stick. A girl screams and hits at a man who holds her when her newly born baby is taken away from her. A girl attacks another girl, knocks her to the ground and yells at her. Two girls are dragged by the collars up stairs and shoved into a wall. A girl tries to kill herself by hanging herself, a girl tries to kill herself by making herself ill, and a girl threatens to kill herself. Many girls are lined up fully nude, forced to jog in place and then scrutinized by two women on the size of their breasts, buttocks, and other attributes (we see them fully nude). A man's clothes are spread with something that causes him to break out in a rash. A girl suffers from the pain of engorged breasts. A girl scrubs a bloody cloth. We see a girl in a cell in a mental hospital. A woman talks about another woman being sent to work with lepers and that her fingers, toes and nose could fall off. A girl yells at her brother. A girl flatulates in another girl's face.


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LANGUAGE 6 - 10 F-words, 6 sexual references, 4 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 15 mild obscenities, 7 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Catholicism, nuns, abuse, rape, incest, atrocities performed in the name of religion, redemption, shame, vanity, sins, children out of wedlock, orphans, mental illness, humiliation, freedom.

MESSAGE - Many awful things have been perpetrated on defenseless people in the name of religion, as recently as the 1960s.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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