A user review on the IMDB page about "A Nun's Story" caught my eye:
"...To think that I only viewed this movie out of desperation is embarrassing! The inner-struggle that Sr. Luke (Audrey Hepburn)undergoes from postulant to nun is incredibly human, not strictly religious. I thought, given the movie's topic, that I would be bored and lost, yet found myself completely in touch with the reality of her life...."I don't know what the cultural background and beliefs of the person who wrote that are: and I'm very glad that this individual was so positively impressed with the movie.
The reason I'm bringing it up is the opportunity that these words give me: "...incredibly human, not strictly religious. I thought, given the movie's topic, that I would be bored and lost...."
I think there's a tendency, in America at least, to assume that "real life" is the vibrant, interesting, occasionally exciting sort of thing we do every day: and that our "religious life" is something static, dull, and interesting to at most a few really odd people.
Some of the conventional representations of spirituality sure give that impression - although I can't say that it's a fault of, say, groups like the southern Baptists.
I'm getting off-topic.
What "A Nun's Story" does is show - quite dramatically - what it's like to be a nun. Specifically, it would seem, a nun in an order that's geared mostly for a contemplative life. Audrey Hepburn's character would, I think, have been better suited to an order which operated more along the lines of Mother Teresa of Calcutta's outfit.
They weren't around in the 1930s, of course.
I suppose it can be a surprise, even a shock, to learn that nuns are real people: with the pretty much same basic physical and psychological equipment as everyone else. Or that a movie about people with solid religious beliefs - who don't ditch them at the first opportunity - can be interesting.
If I'm being unfair to the person who wrote that excellent review, I'm sorry. Like I said, I have no idea what that individual's beliefs are: and used the review only as a starting point for an observation about a not-uncommon assumption.
Saints are real people, too, by the way. But I've written about that before. Recently, too.
- "Saints: That's so Medieval"
(February 14, 2010)