Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 38
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 38
  3. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. A fierce, brilliant film that breaks (and then mends) your heart.
  2. A pungent, powerful film that points an accusing finger not at religious beliefs but at flawed human institutions. It also targets social and cultural mores that are almost medieval in their patriarchal bias against girls and women.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Blistering and brilliant work.
  4. 88
    A harrowing look at institutional cruelty, perpetrated by the Catholic Church in Ireland, and justified by a perverted hysteria about sex.
  5. The whole system was sadistic and indefensible, and the church, looking the other way as long as profits rolled in from the laundries, deserves the scorn that Mullan and his fine cast heap on it.
  6. 88
    The cast is amazing -- two of the lead actresses are first-timers.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    It is an unsettling tale told simply and chillingly by director Peter Mullan, with stand-out performances, an evocative soundtrack and spare, haunting visuals.
  8. 100
    Although this ain't Hogwarts, there's full-scale witchery being practiced behind Magdalene's locked doors.
  9. 89
    While it’s perhaps not the best date film of the year, it is a grim and unmistakable masterpiece of bleak, black sorrow.
  10. The rare movie that turns cruelty into art.
  11. 91
    A picture so powerfully harrowing, its slight shortcomings are forgettable compared to the entire film's cumulative effect. It's that searing.
  12. Graced with performers who bring a purity of emotion to their work, the film is always dramatically convincing. There is a fundamental air of truth about it, a sense that, horrific though things seem, this is how it must have been.
  13. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Both a masterpiece and a holy hell: Watching it, you feel you're being punished for a crime you didn't commit. Which puts you, come to think of it, in the same frame of mind as those poor Magdalene girls.
  14. 90
    A stirring, emotionally galvanizing film, not only due to its shattering subject matter but thanks to Mullan's spot-on eye for casting and fluid, uncoercive style.
  15. 88
    The picture has immediacy, force and humanity. It's a muckraking work of art.
  16. It is passionate and angry and rousing where you might expect it to become numbing and depressing.
  17. See The Magdalene Sisters for its own sake; the performances alone are inspirational. But see it too as an example of how powerful a feature film still can be in the hands of an impassioned filmmaker.
  18. Mullan's movie is admiringly uncompromising. He refuses to augment the horrors with relief.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. SarahO.
    Jul 22, 2006
    I was shocked at the abuse that went on in this movie but its one of the best movies I've ever seen.Acting was nothing short then superb I was shocked at the abuse that went on in this movie but its one of the best movies I've ever seen.Acting was nothing short then superb and well done to Peter Mullan. Excellent movie! Full Review »
  2. chunt
    Oct 6, 2005
    Excellent film- made better by using unknowns....excellent acting....makes me embarassed to be a Catholic....and they did not close until 1998!