The Magdalene Sisters

The Magdalene Sisters

Peter Mullan (2002)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Religious repression and moral hypocrisy are targeted by writer/director Peter Mullan in this bitter indictment of the Magdalene Asylums - convent laundries that were run like workhouses - into which "fallen women" were forced in order to cleanse their "sins". Following three wayward teenagers sent to one such asylum in the 1960s, Mullan's fictionalised version of actual events keeps soapy sentimentality at bay, thanks mainly to the compelling performances of a young cast of unknowns - Eileen Walsh is especially outstanding as the tragic Crispina. Geraldine McEwan is frighteningly good as the bullying Mother Superior, hoarding money from the sanctified exploitation of the girls, beating them out of spite and turning a blind eye to their sexual abuse at the hands of the priests. Often uncomfortable to watch, Mullan's controversial chronicle is not without flaws in its credibility, but these are compensated for by his sincere intentions and moving depiction of lost souls, so stripped of their dignity that they view this living hell as their only refuge.


Four young women are sent to a Catholic institution. Two have been rejected by their families for getting pregnant, one has been raped by her cousin, and the other has been thrown out of an orphanage. Made to feel acute shame and disgrace, the girls are put to work in slave labour conditions and endure mental and physical cruelty at the hands of the nuns in charge. Drama, starring Geraldine McEwan, Anne-Marie Duff, Eileen Walsh and Nora-Jane Noone.

Cast & Crew

Sister Bridget Geraldine McEwan
Margaret Anne-Marie Duff
Bernadette Nora-Jane Noone
Rose / Patricia Dorothy Duffy
Crispina Eileen Walsh
Una Mary Murray
Katy Britta Smith
Sister Jude Frances Healy
Sister Clementine Eithne McGuinness
Director Peter Mullan
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Momentum PicturesGuidance: Violence, swearing and nudity.Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 21 Feb 2003