Movie review: The Magdalene Sisters

SVG map of Ireland.
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The Magdalene Sisters. Incredible movie about the torture of young single women in 1960s Ireland–not the 30s or the 20s or the 1800s. Young women who’d been raped—and subsequently accused of soliciting a boy—young women who’d had babies out of wedlock and had their children taken away from them. Their parents and the nuns despise them for their youth and their attractiveness—they were considered “occasions of sin.” The punishment for disobedience in the prison/laundry was having your hair cut off—what a fitting disgrace for young women considered dangerous for their looks and freshness.

Wow, 1960s. That’s when I was a teenager. And I thought it was pretty bad to be a Catholic teenager in America. Who knew how the pooor Irish teenagers and young women were not only being abandoned, but imprisoned for who they were. In one scene, a young woman who’d lost her child began calling out that the priest who pretended to be so perfect was not a man of God—she screamed it over and over—and they came in the middle of the night and had her taken away to a mad hospital, though her prison mates knew well  that she was not.

They each received one orange for Christmas. Can you say Charles Dickens? Some 30000 women were detained at Magdalene “laundries.” The last one closed in 1996.

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