Critics Consensus

Led by a gripping performance from Melissa Leo, Novitiate grapples uncompromisingly -- and ultimately compellingly -- with questions of faith and feminism.



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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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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.

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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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