Friday, May 26, 2006

Movie Review: Where Angels Go, Troubles Follow

I don't usually review movies. With a brother studying film, I don't usually need to. However, in this case I felt compelled. I've been a fan of the first film, "The Trouble with Angels" staring Rosalind Russell as Mother Superior and Haley Mills as the unruly Mary Clancy, ever since I first saw it several year ago. So I was curious to see the sequel "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows," and when it was available for free on Comcast, I put it on. I was gravely disappointed. The first film balances quite nicely the difficulties changes in America put on young girls and the challenges those confused young girls place on the religious sisters who strive to educate them academically as well as in matters of conduct, behavior and life. The second film begins with a bishop telling Mother Superior, again played by Rosalind Russell, that times are changing and they have to change to and so tells her she should lead a bus of girls from her all-girls Catholic school across the country to a peace rally in California. A desire for the trip is lead by a young sister named Sister George. Overall I must say Sister George must be one of the worst sisters I've ever seen. To her fellow sisters she is condescending, rude, bossy and quite obnoxious. To Mother Superior she is disobedient and defiant. She enjoys being friends with the girls so much she seems to be one of them but merely in a habit. She arranges to have the sisters and girls stay overnight at an all boys school. But it is easy to tell this movie was made before the whole sex scandal (fortunately, otherwise the director would have been far more out of line) as a poster in the boys' school says, "Spend time in the chapel sometime, Father Chase gets lonely." Sister George seems to be intended to represent so much "modern" thinking about the Catholic Church. When the bus breaks down in the desert, she advises removing their "medieval" habits to cool off and oh so wittingly remarks that it is no secret that they have legs. Mother Superior tries a few times to instruct Sr. George on being considerate of the other sisters and of the need to worry more about what is best for the girls than on being their best friend but Sr. George is very determined in her liberal mindframe. In the end Mother learns that "the cloister isn't always a place, but it can also be a state of mind." (awe, let's all hug!) the girls to me seem ridiculously unrealistic. When they reach the boys' school they all shout in unison, "Boys!" as though they had never seen one before and had practiced to scream altogether the same.

You never actually see them reach the rally. In the end the sisters try to remove their minds from "the cloister" as they shorten their veils, show their hair and wear habits resembling business suits with skirts. As heartfelt as the first film is, that is how political this one was.

I will say one thing. At least I never paid to watch it.

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