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Film Review: Sister Act (1992) by drax

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· @drax · (edited)
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Film Review: Sister Act (1992)
![(source: tmdb.org)](https://www.themoviedb.org/t/p/original/dzf2KNZ7N0IrJZ1uZgLNd5qT2Oj.jpg)


High concepts are popular in Hollywood because, on occasion, high concept films can deliver spectacular results. One of such examples can be found in *Sister Act*, 1992 comedy directed by Emile Ardolino.


The protagonist, played by Whoopie Goldberg, is Deloris Wilson a.k.a. Deloris Van Cartier, struggling lounge singer in Reno, Nevada. Her career is going nowhere and her private life isn’t any better, because she is stuck in poor relationship with Vince LaRocca (played by Harvey Keitel), a mobster who happens to be married. One day she accidentally see Vince and his goons execute alleged police informant. She immediately becomes target, but manages to escape and contact Lieutenant Eddie Souter (played by Bill Nun), police detective who puts her into protective custody. Souter has found an seemingly ingenious way to hide Deloris from Vince’s assassins – she is to take identity of Catholic nun named Sister Mary Clarence and live in St. Katherine’s, Carmelite monastery in San Francisco. Deloris, who is a wordly woman, at first has trouble adjusting to new and austere way of life, but gradually finds new friends among other nuns and discovers a way to put her talent to something useful. Reverend Mother (played by Maggie Smith) makes Deloris join convent’s choir, where she soon begins training other nuns and arranging traditional hymns in rock’n’roll style. This approach, which also includes singing rock standards with religious lyrics, brings many new people to church but also an unwanted attention that could lead Vince to her.


Script by Paul Rudnick (credited under pseudonym “Joseph Howard”) was based on the simple idea – wordly singer forced to live in convent – and didn’t want to complicate matters. Continuing with decades-long tradition of symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and Cahtolic Church, which was still strong in early 1990s, script tries to brush aside an issue of Church as socially conservative institution in increasingly liberal and progressive world. It suggests that Church can become “cool”, “hip” and modern simply by applying new music choices. Director Emile Ardolino, best known for his great hit *[Dirty Dancing](https://peakd.com/hive-166847/@drax/film-review-dirty-dancing-1987)*, seemed suitable for this approach and the best part of the film are musical numbers, as well as the middle section, when protagonist finds herself in all kinds of “fish out of water” situations. This segment, as well as the rest of film, works very well due to immense talents of Whoopie Goldberg who makes the character of Deloris, despite some questionable choices, likeable. The rest of cast is good, including Maggie Smith who brings gravitas in the role of Reverend Mother; Wendy Makkena, Kathy Najimy and Mary Wickes are even better in the nuns’ roles. Bill Nunn is solid as police detective, but Harvey Keitel is wasted in one-dimensional and poorly written role of mob boss. The final sections of the film, when nuns have to rescue Deloris from mobsters’ den, are atrocious and almost ruin entire experience. Thankfully, energetic performances, good music and generally positive vibes of the script make *Sister Act* a good film. Despite less than enthusiastic reviews, *Sister Act* became one of the biggest hits of the year. In 1993 a sequel was made under title *Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit*.



RATING:  5/10 (++)


https://youtu.be/nhGjd-dOZYg




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@gwajnberg ·
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