Novitiate (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

Novitiate (2017)


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Spanning over a decade from the early 1950s through to the mid-60s, NOVITIATE is about a young girl's first initiation with love, in this case with God. Raised by a non-religious, single mother in rural Tennessee, a scholarship to Catholic school soon finds Cathleen drawn into the mystery and romanticism of a life devoted to the worship and servitude of God. With the dawn of the Vatican II era, radical changes in the Church are threatening the course of nuns' lives. As she progresses from the postulant to the novitiate stage of training, she finds her faith repeatedly confronted and challenged by the harsh, often inhumane realities of being a servant of God. Cathleen finds herself struggling with issues of faith, sexuality, and recent changes in life of the Church.


Margaret Qualley
as Sister Cathleen
Melissa Leo
as Reverend Mother
Julianne Nicholson
as Nora Harris
Dianna Agron
as Sister Mary Grace
Denis O'Hare
as Archbishop McCarthy
Morgan Saylor
as Sister Evelyn

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Critic Reviews for Novitiate

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (8)

Novitiate doesn't tell a straightforward story of love and sacrifice, of faith and its crises. [Margaret] Betts's film is ritualistic and enthralling, with a complex feminism woven into its cloth, and it's something of a blessing.

September 7, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Strikingly ambitious, even when it can be as formal as a church service.

January 25, 2017 | Full Review…

There's a lot of great filmmaking in Novitiate, but there's also quite a bit still missing.

January 25, 2017 | Full Review…

Shining testament to the power of belief.

January 25, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Mesmerizes as it probes a uniquely female-dominated milieu where passions - both religious, sexual and a combination of the two - run hot under those starched, lily-white coifs and black habits.

January 21, 2017 | Full Review…

It's thought-provoking, occasionally melodramatic fare that should definitely garner some award nominations for Leo, who could put the fear of God into anybody.

January 21, 2017 | Full Review…

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