Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: October 27, 2017
7.5
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Generally favorable reviews based on 20 Ratings
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8
GreatMartinNov 27, 2017
“Novitiate” takes place in the early 1960s when what was referred to as Vatican II began to make changes in the Catholic Church and those changes would be powerful and extreme, as the closing credits show.

We follow a young girl named
“Novitiate” takes place in the early 1960s when what was referred to as Vatican II began to make changes in the Catholic Church and those changes would be powerful and extreme, as the closing credits show.

We follow a young girl named Cathleen as she becomes a postulant for 6 months and then a year and a half in the quarters with the other novices and it makes Marine Corps’ boot camp look like child’s play! Cathleen enters the order after one day feeling the presence of God and we watch her process to becoming a full fledged nun.

We meet other postulants who are there for various reasons, some succeeding, others leaving before the decision has to be made and others are basically thrown out.

All are under the charge of the Reverend Mother who makes it clear that she speaks for God. She has been a nun for 40 years and is having problems with the new rules coming from Rome that she feels demeans her religion, nuns and her.

There is a lot in this film that I feel most people, especially males, don’t know what a female went through to become a nun and I don’t know how much has changed but I left the film in awe of these women. I am not saying much else but this is a mesmerizing movie with very few clichés.

Melissa Leo, as the Reverend Mother is a stern disciplinarian who believes in her relationship with Christ and wants her novices to feel the love she feels and her inner fight with the Vatican II new rules is tearing her apart.

Cathleen is played as a child by Eliza Mason, as a 12 year old by Sasha Mason and at 17 by Margaret Qualley all giving fine performances, especially the latter. Her mother played by Julianne Nicholson is spot on while other postulants and nuns are played by Maddie Hasson, Rebecca Dayan, Ashley Bell, Morgan Saylor, Liana Liberato, Dianna Agron and Cathleen’s father in a short role by Chris Zylka are all natural in their roles.

I have always had the Hollywood versions of nuns and knew most weren’t like Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Jennifer Jones but more like the mean Sisters walking around with rulers to slap knuckles and having seen what nuns go through to become a nun I am surprised more aren’t like the latter!

“Novitiate” is an excellent film that holds your interest and should be seen.
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8
StevieGJDNov 25, 2017
This is a thought provoking and well made film. Melissa Leo gives an amazing performance, one that I suspect will be Oscar nominated. There are some unnecessary scenes and an unfortunately predictable story arc that creates part of theThis is a thought provoking and well made film. Melissa Leo gives an amazing performance, one that I suspect will be Oscar nominated. There are some unnecessary scenes and an unfortunately predictable story arc that creates part of the film's dramatic tension. But the main points of this film, the intensity of old school nun training and the effect that Vatican 2 had on Catholic nuns, are very well told, very well acted and quite poignant. Expand
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8
TVJerryNov 26, 2017
This unique film takes place during the '60s, when Vatican II was changing the style of the Catholic Church. One young woman (Margaret Qualley) takes the ultimate step: becoming a nun. The film follows her as she progresses thru the stages ofThis unique film takes place during the '60s, when Vatican II was changing the style of the Catholic Church. One young woman (Margaret Qualley) takes the ultimate step: becoming a nun. The film follows her as she progresses thru the stages of training, all the while questioning her faith and the harsh treatment of some of the women, especially by the Mother Superior (a complex and evil Melissa Leo). This film provides a fascinating look inside a nunnery, but what makes it so potent is the intense scrutiny that's placed on so many characters and the uniformly magnificent jobs the actors do. While the narrative unfolds slowly, it's never dull. Thanks to a intriguing story and excellent performances, this is a compelling look inside a convent and a group of characters. Expand
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5
moviemitch96Nov 25, 2017
Honestly, I felt this to be a very slow-moving and pedestrian film about the Vatican during the 60s. The only really impressive thing it had going for it was Melissa Leo's fierce performance. Other than that, this film isn't really worth theHonestly, I felt this to be a very slow-moving and pedestrian film about the Vatican during the 60s. The only really impressive thing it had going for it was Melissa Leo's fierce performance. Other than that, this film isn't really worth the time in my opinion. Expand
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8
section20mi6Apr 15, 2018
Certainly one of the most interesting approaches to tackle the subject of Christianity, Novitiate does not seek to give out answers or judge religion as a whole, but presents the power struggle and human emotions that mirror the contemporaryCertainly one of the most interesting approaches to tackle the subject of Christianity, Novitiate does not seek to give out answers or judge religion as a whole, but presents the power struggle and human emotions that mirror the contemporary world. While cast performance is astounding in every way, Morgan Saylor(Homeland) particularly stands out among all. Expand
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7
JLuis_001Jul 10, 2018
Definitely a film to talk about after seeing it for questioning the two sides of the coin between faith and ideology, although it's tilted to one side more than the other and yet maintains to the end what I consider to be the best thematic ofDefinitely a film to talk about after seeing it for questioning the two sides of the coin between faith and ideology, although it's tilted to one side more than the other and yet maintains to the end what I consider to be the best thematic of the film, which is that many religious people, who profess their faith in ways that are too devout, still have a long way to go to fully accept the modern world. It's evident that it was difficult in the time where this story is developed, it's well known that even in our century and decade, religion is still a burden on society when they don't want the rest to advance.

The interesting thing is that despite being in a certain way a global theme, the film knows how to keep things rooted in their characters and their internal conflicts and in the situations that surround them and are facing.

Much more solid than I expected and obviously is a recommended film.
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8
FedorkoNov 13, 2017
The probing of moral fluidity, coupled with strong performances, led by the indefatigable Melissa Leo, makes Novitiate a timely film about spirituality, love and sacrifice. Indeed, the movie crackles most when we see the cloisters struggle toThe probing of moral fluidity, coupled with strong performances, led by the indefatigable Melissa Leo, makes Novitiate a timely film about spirituality, love and sacrifice. Indeed, the movie crackles most when we see the cloisters struggle to live their version of a virtuous life, in the face of not only daily temptations but institutional shifts, which ultimately tells them they are viewed the same in the eyes of God as those who sacrifice minimally. Leo's focused performance is masterful. The question of how important physical affection is in loving one another is well navigated as well. Highly recommended. Expand
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