Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Movie Review: Sister Act

Title: Sister Act
Release Date: 1992
Genre: comedy, music, religious (kind of)
My Rating: ***
Official Rating: PG for mild violence and language (though why this is not PG-13 is beyond me)
Age Group: 16+

Delores Van Carter is a singer at a lounge who wants to take her carrier farther. She is also the lover of the lounge's married owner--and a big time crime boss (which she doesn't know). Frustrated with Vince and his treatment of her, Delores finally breaks and decides to leave. When she marches up to his quarters to tell him this, she witnesses a murder ordered by Vince and committed by two of his men.
Terrified, Delores goes to the police. Turns out they've had their suspicions for a long time but needed evidence--or a witness. Since they can't get a court date right away, Delores must go into hiding.
They put her the last place anyone would look for her: in a convent. That leads to mixed results.

Word of Warning
  •  A nun warns a young girl that the path she is on will lead straight to the devil.
  • Revealing dresses (low necks and short skirts)
  • A man is shown without a shirt as he is dressing. This is used to imply he had his lover have just spent the night together.
  • A man kisses a woman's neck/shoulder. Later there are at least two (possibly three) kisses.
  • Vince is a married man having an affair. We barely see his wife and he seems to have no concern for her, giving away her coat to his lover.
  • Words: d*** (at least twice), a** (at least twice), black a**, h*** (a few times)
  • A man is shot in the head off screen.
  •  Vince is a leader of some major criminals. Drugs are mentioned. People are killed to keep his secret (probably not the first time this has happened).
  • Someone says of the nuns, "these people don't even have sex."
  • Someone says, "I just saw a guy get his face blown off!"
  • A bra is thrown over a curtain.
  • Mention of holster hips.
  • Delores almost leaves when she is told she must live by the nuns' vow of chastity while she stays with them.
  • The Mass becomes focused on the performance of the nuns singing songs.
  • Someone says that "singing is better than sex."
  • Punches are thrown, people are shoved about. Gunshots. One man is shot in the arm (no detail shown).
  • A girl is thrust from a moving car.
  • Nuns say a prayer out loud near someone to guilt trip him into giving them what they want.
  • Vince remarks, "I know this woman in the Biblical sense."
  • A woman punches two men between the legs. They double over, reaching for that area in pain.
  • A nun lies to protect another woman.
  • The priest character is more concerned with getting more people into the church and raising more money for his church and less concerned with what is being taught to his congregation and why they are there.
  • Delores has a hard time living with the nuns after her old life. Eventually she learns a lesson, but she is still rather worldly.
  • There is a misunderstanding about nuns in general. The convent is Carmelite but the nuns there all seem to have different ideas as to what they were signing up for. This is an easy mistake to make when making a movie, but the confusion of not knowing that there are different convents/orders that do different things just added a rather strange element of tension.

My Thoughts
I wouldn't rewatch it. But I don't regret the time I spent watching it. Goodness, that seems to be the theme of the movies I have been watching lately.

Still, the movie was funny. One element I really liked was that even though the Mother Superior seemed to be more old-fashioned, and even though Delores (pretending to be a sister) brought in a slightly more secular/worldly approach, the old-fashioned ways were never pointed at as being bad and old-fashioned and needing to be replaced. They were simply seen as something that was good but which could be improved upon.

As for the secular/worldly approach, this was blown out of proportion. By this I mean it was sold as being secular/worldly, but it really wasn't a big deal. It was a big change from what the nuns were used to, but it was more about working with the people and having fun. Which is what many nuns do.

So my biggest complaint? The confusion as to how convents work. Yes, reform sometimes happens in orders and convents. But it doesn't really work like this, as far as I know. The reform shown in this movie felt like the convent was changing its entire focus/ministry and become a different convent/order. It was confusing, and frustrating, for a Catholic.

But overall, it was a funny movie, handled well, and all things considered they didn't do a horrible representation of the Catholic Church. It may have had its flaws, but I have seen much, much worse.

No comments: