Sister Mary Explains It All (2001)

Sister Mary Explains It All (2001)
  • 589
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 2001 ()
  • Running time: 77 min
  • Original Title: Sister Mary Explains It All
  • Voted: 589

A bigoted, fanatical nun comes face to face with the lives she ruined through her teachings when a quartet of her traumatized former students return to perform at her Christmas Eve church lecture.

1Diane KeatonSister Mary Ignatius
2Brian BenbenGary Sullivan
3Wallace LanghamAloysius Benheim
4Laura San GiacomoAngela DiMarco
  • Who made you?? by 7

    Great movie, especially if you're a recovering Catholic!! Excellent job by Keaton. She was so believable I found myself ducking to avoid getting hit by ruler. Over all I laughed, I cried, I confessed my sins. Worth renting!!!

  • Disastrous travesty by 7

    Christopher Durang must have been taught by a memorably awful nun, because he just can't let go of the concept. The play, "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You," was presented -- at least in Hollywood -- in precisely the same tone as Diane Keaton's lecture scenes here. Sister Mary was an exaggeration, a lampoon, a bitter satire of a serenely confident, doctrinaire and highly judgmental nun -- and as played by Lynn Redgrave, she was hilarious. But the movie insists that we take this exaggeration absolutely seriously -- while, as mentioned, maintaining the same tone in the "explains it all" scenes. The two approaches clash headlong and in the last twenty minutes, the movie goes off the track, plunges into the gorge, and explodes. There are no survivors. It could have worked, if the tone of the scenes with the four former students, and their encounter with Sister Mary, been pitched the same as the Sister Mary scenes. Or if the Sister Mary scenes been presented more realistically. This way simply doesn't work at all.

  • The absurdity of it all expressed beautifully. by 7

    Those who have suffered through years of the Sister Marys and the Baltimore Catechism and the ridiculous and simplistic beliefs that are Catholicism will either love this film, or be utterly shocked that their system is so beautifully ridiculed.

    The fact that Catholic League President William Donohue blasted Viacom, the owner of Showtime, for showing this is justification enough to watch. Anything that gets Donahue's shorts twisted must be good.

    Diane Keaton was just marvelous as Sister Mary. It has to be the best performance I have seen from her.

    Of course, I always like to see Laura San Giacomo, who was also great as the good little girl who grew up to the real world and found that there is no God.

    Brian Benben, Wallace Langham. and Jennifer Tilly were also fantastic and made this film the real joy that it was.

    I would be remiss not to praise Max Morrow as the young actor who was just precious.

    Christopher Durang wrote a great play and screenplay that really ties it all together for the mess that it is.

  • nun's names by 7

    Just to add two bits to this. I, too, studied with a nun with a male saint's name, Sister Joseph Maureen. That's why I always quipped -- even before seeing Durang's play -- "The ones with the male saints' names are the worst." Sister Joseph Maureen was such a terror that I was sent to a psychologist at 7.

    As to who is and isn't a "nun," for 99 percent of those in the Roman Catholic Church, both contemplative (cloistered) sisters and apostolic (out in the world as teachers, nurses and, nowadays, other occupations) sisters are referred to as "nuns." Indeed, in 1984, when I wrote my master's thesis on modern nuns, apostolic sisters freely referred to themselves and others in the apostolic orders as nuns. The distinction is not much observed in everyday speech.

  • SO mean-spirited by 3

    As a "lapsed Catholic" who had 11 years of Catholic school, but hasn't been to Mass in 35 years except for weddings and funerals, I thought I'd get a kick out of this. And I did . . . for the first two-thirds of the movie. It was all the standard stuff -- strict parochial school teachings, repressed sexuality, etc. But then, suddenly, the movie turned mean. REALLY mean. Now mind you, I saw this before the pedophilia scandals hit . . . and maybe I wouldn't have been quite so offended at such nasty, hateful digs at the Catholic Church if I'd known about those abominations (such a Catholic term!) and coverups.

    It's been a few years since I rented the video, and I won't go back to rent it again with a new perspective. It just left such a dirty, nasty, ugly taste in my mouth . . . I wonder what experience all the actors had with the Church, because either they *really* hate it, or they whored themselves for the paycheck. It's an incredibly anti-Catholic movie, offensive to anyone who has a glimmer of a gleam of respect for Catholic education. Which I still do because there were no better teachers back in the '50s. Whatever else those nuns did, they forced me to learn how to read and write the English language. They made us memorize. (How many kids today can do simple arithmetic in their heads?) Truth is, there's nothing more essential for success in America. Can ya read? Can ya add/subtract/multiply/divide? Great. You can get any advanced degree you want. And the discipline of Catholic education will stand you in good stead, not just as you continue your studies, but also for the rest of your life, no matter what you think of the Catholic "mythology" we all had to learn.

    Such a great cast, such a lousy, rotten script. I really feel bad (and no, it's not "badly" -- trust me, the nuns taught me better) for the writer and director.

    I thought I had mixed emotions about Catholic school. But the participants in this project must've been those bad (ie.e, stupid) kids who sat in the back of the room, if they were willingly involved in making this movie.

1Anthony B. Richmondcinematographer
2Philippe Sardecomposer
3Marshall Brickmandirector
4Kristina Bodeneditor
5Ron Bozmanproducer
6Christopher Durangwriter