Audrey Hepburn in "The Nun's Story"

Just got it from Netflix the other day. Thought it would be a nice Lenten movie.

Seemed a little slow to me… like I felt I could have read the novel faster than the movie told the story. During the process when she was taking her vows my wife said to me, “Our actual wedding didn’t take this long!”

Turns out my mom and father-in-law had both seen it when it came out and both had the same reaction.

Anyone out there see it and like this movie?

I’ve read the book at least three-four times, and I’ve seen the movie twice I believe. I LOVE IT!!

I didn’t even know there was a movie for years and years - then stumbled upon it about six years ago. Back when I read the book the first time I even contemplated the religious life - it was that powerful for me.

I realize it’s just a novel, loosely based on a true story, but it just really struck me for some reason.


I recently bought this in hopes of showing it to my children. I was horrified that she left the convent at the end. This is a breaking of her solemn vows, correct?
Unless I missed something, I don’t think it shows the joys of consecrated life very favorably.

A nun can be released from her vows, which what happened in the film. A convent is not a prison, after all. But I share your dislike of the film. I haven’t seen it for some time, but as I recall Sister Luke found her life as a nun restrictive and unfair to her–the movie makes her the put upon poor soul and the Church the heartless, calcified institution that just doesn’t “get it.” At the end the priest who signs her release looks at her as if she were some kind of loathsome insect. I wouldn’t recommend “A Nun’s Story” to anyone.

Wow - I didn’t see the story that way at all! I saw a woman struggling desperately to be holy and to do the right things, wanting so badly to serve God, but also being torn by secular desires. I found it to be a very real and honest portrayal of what, I’m sure, some women struggle with when making these decisions. And I didn’t see the Church as a horrible entity all - I saw her as firm and unmoving, which is exactly what I want her to be, that steadfast pillar of Truth and strength that will not move, no matter how difficult a situation might be. As my DH says, a Faith so strong you can lean against it.

Interesting how different people can get different ideas from the same thing. Now I must say that the majority of my opinion is from reading the book, and not from the movie. Perhaps that has something to do with it?? :shrug:


I haven’t read the book, and you know what they say about books and the movies made from them. So, I can only evaluate the film as a film on this topic. And as a film on this topic it very much favors “poor” Sister Luke’s inability to conform herself to religious life with the very pointed problem being not her but the Church’s inflexibility and the “unfair” things she is commanded to do by her superiors.

I saw nearly every chestnut I’ve ever heard against Catholic religious life from radical Protestantism in that film, except for the bodies of babies buried in the basement. That’s based just on the film not on the book. The book may have much merit, although I have to wonder where all the anti-religious jabs in the film came from if not from something in the author’s attitude towards the religious life she left behind? I hope that’s not the case, but as I say, I have only the film to go by.

I love religious movies.I can’t think of one I disliked…except this one!

I thought it was just awful! :shrug:

the movie and the autobiography it came from both clearly show she was dispensed from her vows through canonical process.

the movie and book very accurately show the difficulty of obedience and discipline in religious life, and moreover that this novice was counselled at the beginning and throughout her formation, by not only her religious superiors and confessor but also people who knew her well, relatives, friends, and co-workers, that she was not cut out for the life, because her first dedication was to medicine and science, not to prayer and contemplation, which as her mother superior continually reminds her, must come first in this vocation.

it portrayed very accurately religious life in that era 30s-40s, life in the medical mission field. It shows very accurately that sometimes choices are not between a good and an eveil, but conflicts between wordly values that appear good to superior goods on the spiritual plane.

i disagree with those who do not appreciate the film’s depiction of the joys of religious life for whom it is the vocation intended for them by God, because I think the other sisters, including the one who died, very clearly showed that joy.

One might balance it with In This House of Brede .

My 16 year old daughter is a huge Audrey Hepburn fan. We’ve seen most of her movies. The Nun Story was apparently a big hit when it first came out. But I have to agree, found it a bit long and slow. Content was ok, didn’t think anything offensive about it. Funny thing if you think about it, Hepburn played a nun, a prostitute, and a lesbian. Great actress and always classy lady throughout her life though…

Audrey Hepburn as a nun–Sister What-a-Waste.

Not that I actually think it’s a waste, but you know what I mean.:wink:

I’d forgotten about that book/movie! I just loved it.

It’s been a long time since I saw the movie and read the book, but the way I remember it Sister Luke left the convent because of HER failings not those of the Order or the Church. She could not bring herself to love the enemy during WWII as she felt she should and believed that she should not be a nun if she couldn’t fullfill her obligations to love all mankind.

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