Agnes of God (1985)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Agnes of God is an "opened up" adaptation of the minimalist stage play by John Pielmeier. Meg Tilly plays a young nun who secretly gives birth to a baby; the child's body is later found strangled to death. Court-appointed psychiatrist Jane Fonda is sent to the convent to investigate, a task made difficult by the weathervane behavior of mother superior Anne Bancroft. To draw out Tilly, who remembers nothing of the birth, Fonda suggests that hypnosis is called for. Playwright Pielmeier poses many … More

Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: John Pielmeier
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 21, 2002
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


as Dr. Martha Livingsto...

as Sister Agnes

as Mother Miriam Ruth

as Dr. Livingston's Mot...

as Detective Langevin

as Father Martineau

as Justice Joseph Levea...

as Monsignor

as Eve LeClaire

as Eugene Lyon

as Sister Marguerite

as Sister Anne

as Newscaster

as Sister Susanna

as Sister David Marie

as Sister Therese

as Sister Elizabette

as Sister Geraldine

as Sister Madeline Mari...

as Sister Genevieve

as Sister Luke

as Sister Mary Joseph

as Sister Paul

as Housekeeper

as Helen, the Reception...

as Librarian

as Young Prostitute

as Sister Genevieve's F...

as Sister Genevieve's F...

as Sister Genevieve's F...

as Paramedic

as Sister Genevieve's F...

as Newscaster

as Sister Genevieve's F...

as TV Reporter

as Male Patient

as Female Patient

as Lab Technician

as Police Detective

as Sister Jeannine
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Agnes of God

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (9)

All three stars do smart, honorable work.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

While Agnes of God has been considerably opened up, it is actually muddled in its transfer from stage to screen.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Despite all the anguished huffing and puffing, there isn't a single authentic moment in it.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It is Meg Tilly who makes the movie live. Her performance, which works on both realistic and symbolic levels, allows you to believe in the story.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Agnes of God plays with some challenging ideas and some sensationalistic events, but ultimately it fails to earn its right to toy with such subjects.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Fonda's relentless interrogating, mannered chain-smoking and enforced two dimensionality cause her to become tiresome very early on.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Agnes of God

Very well done movie.

Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer


A powerhouse cast and a compelling story presented here by director Norman Jewison and beautifully filmed by cinematographer Sven Nyquist combined to make this a marvelous film. Meg Tilly radiates beauty, faith, and simplicity as Sister Agnes, a novice in an unnamed monastic order of nuns who is accused of murdering her newborn child. Jane Fonda plays a court appointed psychiatrist whose duty is to render a diagnosis that will allow the church and the courts to sweep this case under the rug, but who fights to find out what really happened. More detective than doctor, she follows the trail to wherever it leads, to the consternation of all. And Anne Bancroft, as the Mother Superior with her own secrets, wants this ordeal to be over before her own failures are revealed. Some of the early scenes, as the story was being set up, left this viewer a little confused and the relationship between the good doctor and a sympathetic police detective was largely unexplained. But, except for those shortcomings, this was a powerful film dealing with innocence and guilt and faith versus skepticism in a wholly believable manner. Questions remain, but the verdict rendered by the court seems just and fair, and the clash between faith and reason is not settled, but has reached a truce. One feels that an unlikely friendship has been established and that the good Dr Livingstone and Mother Superior Miriam Ruth share a mutual respect for one another as a result of these events.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

People don't seem to believe that this film translates well in the present day but I still find it fascinating. Mind you, you can sort of take a wild guess as to what Agnes' grand secret is well before it is revealed on film.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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