The Morning After: Oct. 8, 2012

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what I’ve seen over the past week either in film or television. On the film side, if I have written a full length review already, I will post a link to that review. Otherwise, I’ll give a brief snippet of my thoughts on the film with a full review to follow at some point later. For television shows, seasons and what not, I’ll post individual comments here about each of them as I see fit.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

The Nun’s Story

A finer glimpse into the world of convents you are unlikely to find as Audrey Hepburn dons a habit to explore the life and trials of nuns. The Nun’s Story is a rare look at what great strength and fortitude it takes to become a nun. We often take for granted the sacrifices these women take in leaving everything they hold dear in order to pledge their lives to God. Whether you agree with their religion or their decisions believing them to abandoning their strength as women, a film like this should rightfully explain just what kind of courage they must have in facing a commitment to such an endeavor.

Hepburn plays Sister Luke, a conscientious woman who wants to parlay her knowledge of medicine into work in the Congo, a wild region of Africa where the native people are as suspicious of outsiders as they are of religion itself. The film never specifies that women are not permitted to practice medicine or nursing without also being a nun, but the implication is there. Before she can find her way into the Congo to treat the sick and unfortunate, she must first enduring the sacrificing trials of bonding with God and alleviating herself with worldly concerns, pride, anger, jealousy and many other emotions.

It would be easy to claim Hepburn is the Gold Standard of nun-ly portrayals, but in honesty, she never seems to fit the model of the nun. Her internal and external struggles with devotion and obedience create a great imbalance in her mind, causing her to take for granted all that’s she’s given up until it’s presented in full force against her. The film is as much about faith as it is about questioning oneself. One of the key phrases in the film is suggested to Sister Luke on multiple occasions and by her own admission: you can fool your fellow sisters, but you cannot fool yourself or God. Those who are secular in nature may find some of the overtly religious elements of the film a bit disconcerting; however, there are some strong lessons to be learned here about self reliance, self doubt and the courage to understand which internal voice demands your attention.

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