Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: Mr. Vig is an elderly, deeply eccentric, never-married Dane, living alone in a ramshackle castle; he dreams of donating his homestead to the Russian Orthodox Church to become a monastery. In a long, black overcoat, with a shock of unruly white hair, and glasses perched on the tip of his nose, he looks like a character straight out of Dickens. Enter Sister Ambrosija, a remarkably attractive young Russian nun, who arrives with a small entourage and plans to whip the place into shape. A whirlwind of activity (days begin at 5:30 am), she insists upon extensive repairs; Mr. Vig wants Band-Aids, whereas she suggests surgery. Their contest of wills plays out in humorous, offbeat encounters that take unexpected turns as two unlikely people find companionship and common ground. Hauntingly shot, The Monastery is a modern fairytale with timeless roots. (Film Forum) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Against all odds, you'll leave this remarkable film caring quite a bit for the old coot -- surely a sign of a very good documentary.
  2. 75
    Gronkjaer's cinematography is pleasing, with beautiful sunsets and tranquil snowscapes. I won't give away the ending, but it might bring a tear to your eye.
  3. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Using material shot sporadically over six years, TV-experienced helmer Pernille Rose Gronkjaer builds an affectionate but admirably unsentimental portrait of her eccentric, headstrong protagonists.
  4. 70
    An oddly graceful combination of fairy tale and romantic comedy, set in a forgotten corner of the world.
  5. 67
    Between their bickering, Grønkjær's offscreen prompting, and the sappy, ubiquitous soundtrack, The Monastery is like the opposite of "Into Great Silence."
  6. It may be that Gronkjaer couldn't get the nun to open up to her. But not knowing much about her creates an awkward imbalance that Vig, fascinating as he is, can't overcome.
  7. Despite some pretty seasonal photography and evocative scenes of the nuns’ rigorous daily rituals, which involve many hours of prayer, The Monastery is a flighty, disorganized film with a blurry timeline and a wandering attention span.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. FenarA.
    Feb 9, 2008
    It was one of the best documentary of last year.
  2. JamesC.
    May 3, 2008
    The first good European film I've seen about Russian Orthodoxy. Far surpasses the glitz of Ostrov -- The Island. Understated and very real! This is a documentary... real people, real situation. Collapse