After falling foul of her mafia boyfriend, Reno singer, Delores Van Cartier, goes into hiding in a convent. After initially clashing with the Mother Superior, Delores begins to get to know the nuns. Being pushed into joining the church’s terrible choir, she finally finds her place and when she is made choir master and brings out the best of the nuns by adding plenty of her own sass. Her larger-than-life presence makes her both loved and hated but shaking up the status quo ensures that nothing will be the same for any of them again.

Sister Act (1992) – Director: Emile Ardolino

Is Sister Act appropriate for kids

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12676998

Rating: PG

Running Length: 100 mins

Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel

Genre: Comedy, Musical

REVIEW

The hugely successful ‘Sister Act’ has not only spawned the sequel ‘Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit’ but also, in more recent years, a musical that has opened in both the West End in London and Broadway. Due to the feel good factor which oozes incessantly from start to finish, this is a movie which quickly became a classic and one which virtually everyone knows the songs, inside and out.

The movie is easily carried by the affable Whoopi Goldberg. Her sassy but accessible nature being so likeable that her almost constant complaining never becomes irritating. The nuns are completely different but incredibly likeable and even Reverend Mother (played by Maggie Smith) who intensely dislikes Delores has understandable motives and is a fully believable character. It is refreshing to see a movie like this where religion is seen from the eyes of someone who is not especially religious and it isn’t disrespected. It would be easy (and lazy) to crack jokes at the expense of Catholicism or make stereotypes of the nuns but that never happens, instead the dialogue specifically but gently pokes fun at the individuals and Delores is never shown to be superior to anyone.

‘Sister Act’ is chock full of witty dialogue, genuine comedy, well-rounded characters (apart from the less prominent stereotyped mobsters) and fantastic songs that will continue to entertain for generations to come.

IS ‘SISTER ACT’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

A man and woman speak in a hotel room, she is wearing night-clothes and he puts on a shirt; it appears that they have just been physically intimate although the dialogue does not say this. It becomes apparent that the woman is the man’s mistress as he is already married and she knows about it. The couple mention divorce but the man puts the woman off by saying that his religion tells him that he would ‘burn in Hell for all eternity’ if he did.

A woman receives a gift of a real fur mink coat, she and her friends think it’s beautiful. Afterwards, the woman puts on her own coat which is also made of real fur and has several mink tails hanging from it. Having a character love coats made from real fur could upset some kids, especially any who love animals and are against animal cruelty.

A man is held captive by mobsters and threatened. A silencer is screwed onto a gun and the man is scared with some blood on his face (this implies that he has been beaten prior to the scene starting). This scene is quite tense and the man is clearly afraid of his captors. A woman inadvertently walks into the room just as a silenced gunshot is heard. The camera focuses on the woman’s face who is shocked by what she sees.

When in the convent, Delores is told that she will have to abide by a ‘vow of chastity’ to which she replies ‘I am out of here!’. Delores also says that singing for the church choir is ‘better than sex’. Two nuns stand outside a sex shop with the words ‘Marital Aids’ emblazoned on its exterior. A man attempts to go into the shop but becomes embarrassed and walks away.

Delores’ boyfriend tells two men that he ‘knows this woman, in the biblical sense and she ain’t no nun’. The two men are uncomfortable with killing Delores while she wears the nuns’ habit, so they ask her to ‘strip’; this isn’t sexual.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Sister Act’ is a thoroughly enjoyable romp that keeps the audience hooked from one toe-tapping number to the next . As there are some sexual references and some relatively mild mob violence, we feel that this movie is appropriate for kids aged 7 and over.

  • Violence:  3/5 (a man is punched in the face. Two men a punched in the crotch.)
  • Emotional Distress: 0/5
  • Fear Factor: 1/5
  • Sexual Content: 3/5 (some prostitutes are seen in the background of several shots)      
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (infrequent mild cursing and blasphemy, one moderate word is cut off half way through)
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (a policeman explains that some witnesses ‘kind of disappeared’ and that they found ‘a piece here, a piece there’. A character tells another that they ‘saw a guy get his face blown off’. The word ‘hooker’ is used a couple of times)    
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of the mafia, witness protection, convent life, bringing out the best in others, being open to change, making the best of a bad situation and appreciating the each person has different strengths and weaknesses.

Words by Laura Record

Sister Act 1/Sister Act 2 [DVD]


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