DIRECTED BY Peter Mullan
STARRING Nora-Jane Noone, Dorothy Duffy, Anne-Marie Duff
Opens February 21, Cert 15, 119 mins
The opening scene of Peter Mullan’s award-winning social drama The Magdalene Sisters unfolds in a Dublin pub in 1964, where Guinness-stained granddads in cloth caps slap their thighs to fiddle-dee-diddle-dee music played by a lecherous priest who salivates suggestively over his bodhran while crucifixes are reflected in whisky glasses and a lusty Irish buck rapes his own cousin. Naturally.
However, initial disappointment at semaphoric 10-in-a-bed Angela’s Ashes Oirishisms is swiftly superseded by Mullan’s muscular story of Bernadette (Noone), Margaret (Duff) and Rose (Duffy) and their detention in one of Ireland’s infamous Magdalene Laundries (nun-controlled borstals for ‘fallen women’). Here the girls fight to retain a sense of identity and humanity in the face of state-sanctioned brutality?ritual humiliation, food depravation, and physical and sexual abuse are commonplace.
As with Philip Noyce’s recent historical expos