my 2 cents

the magdalene sisters

T rented this for me (though he watched it with me) and I'm so glad he did because I would never have had the courage to rent it myself but I hope that you do. It is heartbreaking, but sometimes it is an important part of being a worthwhile human being to bear witness to atrocity if only to extend to those who suffered the abuse that someone saw and the evil was named.

Heartrending. My heart (already a bit too much the fragile piece of wet paper towel and not even Bounty "the quicker picker upper" kind of paper towel rather the soggy, frayed maybe-you-could-use-it-for-one-last-mop-over-the-sink-basin-but-then-you'd-have-to-toss-it paper towel) will ache for some long time to come as images from this film drag their sorrow across my mind.

What's frightening is that I already knew this story without ever having to see this story--this is in my blood. This demonic, sadistic Irish Catholic insanity is part of my lineage and I will never, ever understand how they get away with it all and are not locked up in prisons for the criminals they are. I won't even BEGIN to go into the Boston priests' child rapes/molestations that destroyed countless lives and were perpetuated by the fucking Catholic Church. No, I will stay with this story, that gives a tiny window into the horror of how upwards of 30,000 young girls were imprisoned and tortured and destroyed (with the full complicity of their families and society) simply for being female. Most, once they went in never came out. And much money was made from their enslavement because never lose sight that the Catholic church is nothing more than the evilest, blood-sucking corporation to ever exist.

More frightening, to me anyways, is that I can step into the skin of each of them Rose, Oona, Crispina (perhaps Crispina most of all-- how fucked up is that!?) but I cannot step into Bernadette. Bernadette had courage, unbelievable courage and a sense of self that blows me away. I simply don't have it--whatever that thing is, and she grew up in an orphange so you gotta say, how did she have it? How? And how fucking amazing that she did. But I know and have always known that I do not have it. Had it not been for my mother (who had terrible breaks in her maternal line) who refused to go to mass on Sundays (probably due to all that really insightful counseling she and my dad got from their priest on why birth control is so wrong even when you have 3 babies in 3 years and think you will lose your FUCKING mind and even when your 5th baby is in the hospital for 2 months because he has to have 3 blood transfusions because the parents' blood is incompatible and a 6th baby has an extremely high risk rate of being born MENTALLY RETARDED still birth control is a mortal sin). So, thank you mom. Your quiet rebellion helped this scared rabbit to get free of the church and its heinous brainwashing that begins the day you are born into their circle.

(Whew-- now that was quite a digression). Back to The Magdalene Sisters. I am indebted for life to Peter Mullan for making the film. This is one of those films that amazes me simply because it exists. Who cares? Who cares about a bunch of Irish girls whose lives were destroyed by a bunch of Nazis? The money to be made is in movies like Spiderman and The Day After Tomorrow and Rambo. Because we suck, we just suck as human beings, that's why. But, this film did get made and it does exist and that gives me some sense of balance.

But not much hope. Because mostly, when I think on this film I am torn asunder by profound, aching sadness on the one hand and blind, murderous rage on the other.

updated: June 09, 2004

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