Sunday April 15th 9:45 AM
Director: Margaret Betts
Cast: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Dianna Agron, Julianne Nicholson
Runtime: 123 minutes
Capri, Hollywood: Best Supporting Actress, Melissa Leo; Sundance Film Festival: Special Jury Prize, Margaret Betts; Black Reel Awards: Outstanding First Screenplay, Margaret Betts. one other win, 13 nominations.
“Novitiate, is as heated with ideas as it is with fire in the flesh. I particularly enjoyed Leo’s performance as fire-breathing tragic dragon, guarding a treasure that’s already been taken.”—Liam Lacey, original.cin
Unable to find her place at home or amongst her peers at school, Cathleen (Margaret Qualley, The Nice Guys;) finds solstice with the nuns at her school and decides to turn to the Catholic Church to find meaning in her life. However, her place in the Church is complicated as larger changes are on the horizon from the Vatican.
Cathleen is immediately struck by the peace and calm that she experiences attending her first Catholic mass. Despite the misgivings of her decidedly irreligious mother (an anomaly in their small 1960s Tennessee town), Cathleen wholeheartedly pursues her newfound interest in God, which provides her with the intellectual stimulation and calm sense of security she’s missing in her tense home.
Sure of her devotion, Cathleen dedicates herself to becoming a nun and joins a local convent, isolated from her family and the life she once knew. Encouraged by the camaraderie with her fellow postulants and the peaceful silence of her initial training under Sister Mary Grace (Dianna Agron), Cathleen moves forward with her training as a novitiate. However, as the Catholic Church finds itself on the verge of momentous change and her preparations increase in severity — bringing her in closer contact with the austere and demanding Reverend Mother (Melissa Leo, The Fighter) — Cathleen is forced to decide if the convent and her relationship with God can give her everything she needs.
Supported by outstanding performances, director Margaret Betts presents an assured and beautifully captured feature debut. Her skillful and nuanced exploration of the pressures facing young Cathleen brings a palpable kindness and universality to her story.