Novitiate is a movie set in the early 1960’s and during the Era of Vatican II. Cathleen, a young woman in training to become a nun struggles with issues regarding faith, the changing church, and sexuality.
Cathleen is a 17 year old girl played by Margaret Qualley, she is from a small town and is also portrayed as the center piece of this movie. Along with having been born and raised in a small town, her parents also divorced when she was younger and so she was mainly cared for by her mother. Her mother, played by Julianne Nicholson, is a foul mouthed, agnostic, chain smoker whom believes that her daughter should not spend her entire life becoming and residing in a monastery as a nun. Despite her mothers judgmental views, Cathleen proceeds to proclaim that she is undeniably “In love with God.” and so she sets out to become a nun against her mothers wishes.
(Cathleen’s mom, Nora. )
At the church, we our shown Reverend Mother, a lady who was so in love with God that she refused to step foot out side of the Monastery walls for all of 40 years. She is the “teacher” of the young nuns and the people who wish to become nuns, including Cathleen. She preaches that her voice is God’s voice and so she expects the girls to follow her every word. Despite how nice I am describing her here, she was honestly quite stern and at times scary.
This movie encompasses about three different major view points: That of Cathleen herself (and the other nuns), her powerless mother, and that of the Reverend Mother. Despite the fact that Cathleen’s mother did not support her becoming a nun, she still attended all of Cathleen’s ceremonies and even visited with her. This allowed me to see that her mother truly did love Cathleen and simply just wanted the best for her. Nora was definitely one of my favorite characters in the movie apart from Cathleen.
Nora struggles with keeping her daughter safe because Cathleen appeared to have lost lots of weight between her visits with her mother. This caused Nora to grow increasingly worried about her daughter’s health, prompting her to visit the church and try to remove her from the program.
Reverend mother struggles with adopting the new rules of the church. She struggles to forget her old teachings, the teachings she herself grew up on. These teachings are that of stern, old fashioned, style. When she is told that she must adopt a more “relaxed” regimen, she herself experiences many trials and tribulations.
In terms of how I felt about this movie, I really liked it. I feel that it showed the different view points of the characters very well, all whilst not abandoning it’s main star: Cathleen and her journey. I definitely recommend this movie for anyone searching for some quality entertainment. I rate this movie a 9/10. I’m rating it a 9 because I sadly missed the first 15 minutes of the movie due to traffic. It could very well have gotten a 10 had I seen the entire movie.