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The Magdalene Sisters

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The Magdalene Sisters

Torturous and powerful, writer-director Peter Mullan’s drama, The Magdalene Sisters, is, alas, more than a fictional account. The film, set in 1964 Ireland, tells the story of Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone), Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), Rose (Dorothy Duffy), and Crispina (Eileen Walsh), who are sent to a Magdalene convent — where supposedly promiscuous girls symbolically cleansed their sinful souls by washing laundry, and received merciless punishments and sexual advances in return. Stunning newcomer Noone delivers an enrapturing performance as a defiant orphan determined to escape, while Geraldine McEwan chills as a monstrous nun whose cruelty seems boundless. EXTRAS ”Sex in a Cold Climate” chronicles the history of the Magdalene asylums (finally shut down in 1996) and offers testimony from four of the 30,000 women who withstood life within their harrowing walls.