You know me – atheist to a fault; not having any truck with any religion and other such superstitious nonsense. Well, today, I sat down and watched Fred Zinnemann’s The Nun’s Story, starring Audrey Hepburn on TV.
I must say that the film both impressed and appalled me. I can see that the film would probably appeal to the religious amongst us. The bedrock of the nuns’ "obedience, poverty and chastity" was well conveyed. I could see the attraction of the ritual, of the discipline. The process of becoming a nun (at least at that time portrayed in the film) was clearly a well-designed psychological journey, evolved and honed over centuries for maximum effectiveness. And the desired-for result in a person who lives for others, and lives without the vanities of the world is an ideal worth striving for. But I would try for that without the, to me, totally irrational belief in a god.
The power of the film was that it was finely balanced. It seemed to me the crux of the story is the question put to Sister Luke by the Mother Superior: Is she to be a nun or a nurse? And for Gabrielle van der Mal the answer is ultimately to drop the prentence of being Sister Luke, and to regain true meaning in her life by being a nurse. It’s the right choice for her.
A good film, I’m glad I finally caught up with it.