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The Nun's Story

7.0
2,799
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Original title
The Nun's Story
Year
Running time
149 min.
Country
United States United States
Director
Screenwriter
Robert Anderson (Novel: Kathryn Hulme)
Music
Franz Waxman
Cinematography
Franz Planer
Cast
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Producer
Warner Bros. Pictures
Genre
Drama | Religion. Based On A True Story. Africa
Synopsis / Plot
Audrey Hepburn stars in The Nun's Story as Sister Luke, postulant of a Belgian order of nuns. Though frequently disillusioned in her efforts to spread good will -- at one point she is nearly killed by a mental patient (Colleen Dewhurst) -- Sister Luke perseveres. Sent as a nurse to the Belgian Congo, an assignment she'd been hoping for, Sister Luke is disappointed to learn that she will not be ministering to the natives but to European patients. Through the example of no-nonsense chief surgeon Peter Finch, the nun sheds her idealism and becomes a diligent worker -- so much so that she contracts tuberculosis. Upon the outbreak of World War II, Sister Luke tries to honor the edicts of her order and not take sides, but this becomes impossible when her father (Dean Jagger) is killed by the Nazis. Realizing that she cannot remain true to her vows, Sister Luke leaves the order and returns to "civilian" life. The Nun's Story ends with a long, silent sequence in which Sister Luke divests herself of her religious robes, dons street garb, and walks out to an uncertain future. There is no background music: director Fred Zinnemann decided that "triumphant" music would indicate that Sister Luke's decision was the right one, while "tragic" music would suggest that she is doing wrong. Rather than make an editorial comment, the director decided against music, allowing the audience members to fill in the blanks themselves. The Nun's Story is based on the autobiographical book by Kathryn Hulme, whose depiction of convent life was a lot harsher and more judgmental than anything seen in the film. (Hal Erickson: All Movie Guide)
Awards
1959: 8 Nominations for Oscar, including, Movie, Director, Actress (Hepburn), Cinematography
1959: Golden Globes: 5 Nominations, including Best Film - Drama
1959: BAFTA Awards: Best British Actress (Hepburn). 4 Nominations
1959: Directors Guild of America (DGA): Nominated for Best Director
1959: Writers Guild of America (WGA): Nominated for Best Drama Screenplay
1959: San Sebastian Film Festival: Golden Shell (Best Film) & Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn)
1959: National Board of Review: Best Film, Director and Supporting Actress
1959: New York Film Critics Circle: Best Director, Actress (Hepburn)
1959: David di Donatello Awards: Best Foreign Actress (Audrey Hepburn)
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