Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Magdalene Sisters

It sounds like a rather innocent title but then I should have given it more thought. Magdalene? It should ring a bell. Magdalene actually refers to Mary Magdalene, the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet. I thought this movie was about sisters who probably came from a Magdalene family! How wrong I was.

This movie was thoroughly disturbing. On the cover of the DVD, it was written that it’s based on true events. Well, until I checked Wikipedia, I thought the four main woman characters were real women. They’re actually fictional but what happened to them at the Magdalene Asylum was true. In fact, the treatment at the real asylum was much worse than what was depicted in the film.

Anyway, it’s about four women who are considered as ‘fallen women’ because they aren’t ‘pure’ anymore. Margaret, who I think looks kind of like a smart girl, was raped by her cousin at a wedding. Bernadette, an orphan, is always flirting with boys. Rose gave birth to an illegitimate baby. Crispina gave birth to a baby out of wedlock too. Notice their similarities? They’re connected with men in one way or another but it’s them who have to suffer for it. That was during the 1960s in Ireland.

When I say that the movie was disturbing, it was literally disturbing. I felt uncomfortable and fidgety while watching it. I couldn’t stand the cruelty the girls received at the asylum. They were treated like scum, humiliated, bullied by the nuns, and even one girl was forced to ‘do a job’ for a priest.

I’m glad to know that the last Magdalene asylum was closed in 1996.

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