Agnes Of God (1985). Import from France with English soundtrack and subtitles. When young nun Sister Agnes (Meg Tilly) is put on trial for giving birth to and then killing a baby in the Quebec convent where she lives and works, subsequently claiming to have no knowledge or memory of either event, it is up to psychiatrist Dr Martha Livingston (Jane Fonda) to decide whether she is mentally responsible for her actions. Martha comes up against the convent's mother superior, Sister Miriam Ruth (Anne Bancroft), who doubts whether the answer can be found in psychology, believing... that it is a matter of Christian faith whether Agnes' actions constitute a murder or a miracle. This Broadway hit gets a solid film treatment by director Norman Jewison but that can't make up for the weaknesses of the script (which were as true onstage as they are here). Jane Fonda plays a chain-smoking shrink sent to a convent to do a psychological evaluation of a novice (Meg Tilly) who gave birth to a baby and then killed it in her little room. Was it a virgin birth? A miracle? And what of the bloody stigmata that seem to spontaneously appear on her hands? Fonda also finds herself clashing with the Mother Superior (Anne Bancroft) over the line between faith and science. But writer John Pielmeier can't flesh this out beyond an idea; in the end, the solution is a disappointingly earthbound one that even the strong acting in this film can't elevate. [show more]
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