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YMMV / The Magdalene Sisters

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  • Anvilicious: Men can easily abuse women, but in most cases the namely women will become the scapegoat. And yes, the church is an abusive Jerkass and slaver!
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Much like Requiem for a Dream, Grave of the Fireflies and many more - watching the film will be an emotional test for a lot of viewers.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The whole effect of the film is to make the modern Western audience roil with indignation of what kind of Western society would treat young women as potentially lifelong prisoners and slaves for a self-righteous morality.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Margaret slips into this a few times. She does have some sympathy, taking Crispina under her wing. But when she finds out Bernadette took Crispina's St Christopher medal she physically attacks her and is enraged the other girls don't join in. She even yells at Crispina for not being mad at Bernadette, Crispina only being glad that the medal was found.
    • Bernadette is an even more strong example of this, by shutting herself off from the other girls in an attempt to cope. She knew that Crispina's St Christopher was the only thing giving her hope, but she keeps it from her even after Crispina attempts suicide twice. She later tells an elderly dying inmate who wants her to stay by her bedside that nobody cares about her and that she should hurry up and die.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Bernadette's epilogue says that she was married and divorced three times. Divorce was illegal in Ireland until 1993 but Bernadette moved to Scotland. Perhaps she even moved there to escape an unhappy marriage?
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  • Fridge Horror: Margaret's cousin apparently got away scot-free with raping her; we never see him get punished, and their families may well have believed she led him on. Now that he's seen there are no repercussions for his actions, how long before he does it again?
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Rose's baby being taken away is bound to make newer viewers even more fearful since later years revealed that the church didn't adopt all the babies out, and many were just killed and buried in unmarked graves. The epilogue thankfully reveals that Rose was reunited with him years later.
    • This is a film about the victims of sexual abuse, and it's distributed by Miramax Films. The company owned by Harvey Weinstein - whose sex crimes became public in 2017.
    • Shortly before this film was released, sexual abuse by the church in America was also discovered (as depicted in the film Spotlight in 2015).
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • Bernadette's Due to the Dead when she sees that Katy has died in her sleep. Although she told the old woman to "hurry up and die", she kisses her on the forehead.
    • Rose telling Bernadette's cousin her real name. She says it cheerfully - realising she can use it again.
    • Rose's final scene shows her telling Bernadette to write to her. She also remained Christian until her death - showing that she wasn't fully broken by the cruel treatment.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Anne-Marie Duff, Nora-Jane Noone and Dorothy Duffy would all later make guest appearances on Holby City. Dorothy's was even as a single pregnant woman!
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Bernadette. You can understand her frosty attitude when you consider she's an orphan and only been sent there because she talked to boys too much. Add that to the crap she has to go through in the laundry and you still want to hug her even when she's snapping at people.
    • Katy also qualifies. She was signed in as a young girl and stays in the laundry until her death as an old woman. She is cruel to the younger girls and rats out Bernadette to the nuns, but as a product of years of Stockholm Syndrome she truly believes the nuns know best and are kind and Godly at heart. When it's revealed how long she's been there, and the tragic circumstances of her family giving her up and her losing her baby, it's clear she's Not So Different.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Although the film is considered strictly feminist and depicting men solely as hypocrites and molester, many forget that the main villains of the film are nuns. In fact, according to the director, the film is more likely to directed against the labor arbitrariness and the church than towards feminism.
  • Narm Charm: Bernadette's final scene with the nuns is a little dramatic - and bound to make viewers laugh when one thinks that these nuns have no clue who she is or why she's doing it - but damn if her defiance isn't awesome.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Bernadette's Traumatic Haircut at the hands of the nuns is even more violent than Una's. She struggles the whole time and is left bleeding because of it.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The film served to really highlight just how much power the Catholic Church had over Ireland in the 20th century - and how awful it was for women. The ending titles even confirm that the last laundry closed in 1998! The director even made the film because he felt the victims of the laundries received no closure.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Margaret when her brother signs her out. The little speech she gives to the rest of the girls comes across as incredibly callous - since she now gets to be freed and it seems like she's rubbing it in their faces that they can't be. Then she snaps at her brother - who has done nothing wrong to her at all - "you didn't grow up fast enough!"
  • The Woobie:
    • Rose and Crispina, mothers of children they were forced to give up. Crispina only ever got to see her son from a distance at the laundry gates and Rose isn't reunited with hers until he's thirty years old.
    • Margaret, raped at a wedding by her own cousin. She is taken away to the laundry by her own father the very next day, as her family believes she coerced him into sex acts.
    • Una as well, who manages to escape and gets dragged back to the laundry by her father - telling her she's disowned by the family. She ends up becoming a nun herself.


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