The Magdalene Sisters

Synopsis: A thoroughly mind-provoking film about 3 young women who, under tragic circumstances, see themselves cast away to a Magdalene Asylum for young women in 1964. One of many like institutions, the asylums are run like prisons and young girls are forced to do workhouse laundry and hard labor. The asylum, one of many that existed in theocratic Catholic Ireland, is for supposedly 'fallen' women. Here, young girls are imprisoned indefinitely and endure agonizing punishments and a long, harsh working system which leaves them physically drained and mentally damaged. As the girls bond together, it soon becomes clear that the only way out of the Magdalene convent is to escape, but with twisted Sister Bridget running the wing, any chances seem limited...
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Peter Mullan
Production: Miramax Films
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
114 min

A gentleman was passing by

He stopped for s drink

as he got dry

At the well

below the valley, oh

Green grows the lily, oh

Down among the bushes, oh

Me cup was full

up to the rim

If I were to stoop

I might fall in

At the well

below the valley, oh

Green grows the lily, oh

Right among the bushes, oh

He said, "Young maid,

you're swearing wrong"

For six fine children

she had borne

At the well

below the valley, oh

Green grows the lily, oh

Right among the bushes, oh

If you be a man

of noble esteem

You'll tell to me

what happened to them

At the well

below the valley, oh

Green grows the lily, oh

Right among the bushes, oh

Two buried beneath

the stable door

At the well

below the valley, oh

Green grows the lily, oh

Right among the bushes, oh

You'll be seven years

a-ringin' the bell

But the Lord above,

he'll save me soul

From all this hell

Green grows the lily, oh

Right among the bushes, oh

Well, what is it

you were wanting to show me?

Come on, Kevin.

What's the secret?

What do you think

you're doing?

I'm going back down.

Kevin, stop!

Now, Kevin, behave yourself.

Now, you're my cousin!

What would your father say?

No. Please.

Please stop it.

Please, Kevin.


No. I'm begging you.

Please stop it.

No. Stop.

Please stop.

You. Get up.

Get up.

Get dressed. Hurry up.

I want you downstairs.

What's happening?

I don't know.



Where's Margaret going?

Ma, where's Father Doyle

taking Margaret?

Where's the bloody brush?

Where is it?

Get off.

I'll never tell ye.

Right, Sonia.

Fart in her face.

I'm not farting in her face.

Do it!

Yours are more smellier.

Don't even think about it.


How do you do that?

Where's the bleedin' brush?

Oh, Jesus.

Take the damn thing.

It's my turn now.

I'm only on 18.

I've got 2 more.

You're on 20!

I've been counting.

If you two don't stop fighting,

I'll do it meself.

Isn't it a sin to be beautiful?


Look at the Virgin Mary.

She's beautiful, isn't she?

It's a sin to be vain.

Vanity is a sin.

So what's your name, gorgeous?


You're fine-looking.


Lovely name.

My grandmother's name.

Very fond of it.

So are you coming up

to give us a kiss?

No chance.

Give a look of your legs, love.

Go on.

Excuse me?

Show us a bit of leg.

Go on.

Show us a bit more

than a bit of leg. Come on.

You spend all your time

hanging around playgrounds?

Which one of us do you like?

She fancies me.

How could she fancy you

with the stomach on you?

Right, lads.

That's enough.

Move it or I'll call the guards.

She's a right nag, isn't she?

- Just give us a kiss.

- Cheeky.

- Just why not?

- I'm not that kind of girl.

You wasn't saying that when

you were dating me, were you?

- Are you giving us a kiss?

- She's teasing us now, she is.

Come on up.

You've got a very good-looking

board, Bernadette.

He's beautiful, isn't he?

Look at his wee hat.



Would you just look at him?

He's your grandson.

Ma, I've said I'm sorry.

I know it was sinful what I did.

But just look at him, Ma.

You can't blame him

for something he's nothing

to do with.

I know I've shamed you

and me da.

But just look at him, Ma.

Ma, would you just say

something... anything?

All right, Da.

Sit down, Rose.

My name is Father Doonigan.

I work for St. John's

Adoption Society.

Your father and I have discussed

your situation.

We feel it would be better

for the child

if you'd put him up

for adoption.

A child born out of wedlock

is a bastard child.

Would you have him go through

life as an outcast,

rejected and scorned by

all decent members of society?

It's a grievous sin

you have committed.

I know, Father. I'm sorry.

I really am.

All the same, would you have

the child pay for your sins?

Not his, remember.

No, Father.

Speak up, Rose.

I didn't hear you.

No, Father.

So, better he get

a chance in life,

that he grows up

in a good Catholic home

with a loving mother

and father?

Sign your name here.


You stay here with your father

while I go and get the baby.

You're going to take him now?

You wouldn't want to get

too attached, would you, Rose?

Did you see the baby, Da?

He's beautiful.

I think I'll tell him

I've changed my mind.

Can I not change my mind?

Can we just tear up the forms?

Did you look at him, Ma?

Isn't he beautiful?

He is beautiful.

My baby!

I want my baby!

I've changed my mind!

Please, Da, stop them!

Please, Da,

don't let them take my baby!

Please, Da!

Please, Da.

Leave them down there now

and wait.

Sister Bridget

will see you now.

In you go.

The philosophy here at Magdalene

is a very simple one.

Through the powers of prayer,

cleanliness, and hard work,

the fallen may find their way

back to Jesus Christ,

our Lord and Savior.

Mary Magdalene, patron saint

of the Magdalene convent,

herself was a sinner

of the worst kind,

giving of her flesh

to the depraved

and the lustful for money.

Salvation came only by paying

penance for her sins,

denying herself all pleasures

of the flesh,

including food and sleep,

and working

beyond human endurance

so that she might offer up

her soul to God

and so walk through

the gates of Heaven

and live in everlasting life.

In our laundry, they are not

simply clothes and bed linen.

These are the earthly means

to cleanse your very soul,

to remove the stains

of the sins you have committed.

Here you may redeem yourself

and, God willing,

save yourself

from eternal damnation.

Breakfast is at 6:00.

Prayer is at 6:

Work begins at 7:00.

- Lunch is at...

- Excuse me, Sister?

I think I should go.

You see, my father

was very ups...

Don't ever interrupt me, girl.

Did no one ever tell you that

it's bad manners to interrupt?

Or were you too busy whoring

with the boys to listen?

- Is that what it was?

- No, Sister.

Are you simpleminded?

Is that what it is?

Are you a simpleton?

I decide when or if

you're allowed to leave.

And I think I can safely say

it could be quite some time.

What's your name?

Margaret, Sister.

Margaret what?



Rose Dunne.

We have a Rose.

What's your middle name?

I don't have one, Sister.

Perhaps not

on your birth certificate.

But I'm sure your parents have

one or two names for you now.

What's your confirmation name?


Then you may call

yourself Patricia.

"Thank you, Sister."

Thank you, Sister.

And you?

Bernadette Harvey.

From St. Attracta's.

Yes, Sister.

Now, how would I know that?

I don't know, Sister.

Is it that Principal McLachlan,

who's a very good friend of

mine, has told me all about you?

Or is it that after years

in charge of this convent,

I know a little temptress

when I see one?

I don't know, Sister.

Well, blessed Mary.

Two simpletons in one day.

Well, I'm sure

we shall find out

in the course of time,

won't we?

Now come with me.

Good afternoon.

Good afternoon.


Come with me.


Over there.

And you come this way.

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Peter Mullan

Peter Mullan (; born 2 November 1959) is a Scottish actor and filmmaker. He is best known for his role in Ken Loach's My Name Is Joe (1998), for which he won Best Actor Award at 1998 Cannes Film Festival and The Claim (2000). He is also winner of the World Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performances at 2011 Sundance Film Festival for his work on Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur (2011). Mullan appeared as supporting or guest actor in numerous cult movies, including Riff-Raff (1991), Braveheart (1995), Trainspotting (1996), Young Adam (2003), Children of Men (2006), War Horse (2011) and the Harry Potter film series (2010–11). Mullan is an acclaimed art house movie director. He won a Golden Lion at 59th Venice International Film Festival for The Magdalene Sisters, listed by many critics among the best films of 2003 and nominated for BAFTA Award for Best British Film and European Film Award for best film, and a Golden Shell at San Sebastián International Film Festival for Neds. He is the only person to win top prizes both for acting (Cannes best actor award) and for the best film (Golden lion for The Magdalene Sisters) at major European film festivals. In television, Mullan appeared in Gerard Lee's and Jane Campion's acclaimed miniseries Top of the Lake as one of the main characters, head of the Mitcham family and father of Tui Mitcham, whose disappearance is the main topic of the series. He was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for his work in the series. He played a lead role in the 2008 ITV series The Fixer. In 2017, he appeared in the Netflix series Ozark opposite Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Since 2016, Mullan has starred in the BBC Two sitcom Mum. In 2018, he stars in the second season of HBO's Westworld. Mullan is also politically active, supporting left-wing causes and protests. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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