Thursday, November 05, 2009

Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile)

Good film with excellent performance by Cécile De France that according to what I read, did extensive research to portrait Jeannine Deckers, aka Sister Gabriel, better known as “Sister Smile” (her pseudonym) or The Singing Nun in America, as close as possible. I never met the real nun, but from today on I will imagine that the real woman/nun was just like Cécile’s impersonation. Then De France sings and plays the guitar for real which makes her character totally believable. Extraordinary and non-forgettable performance.

The Stijn Coninx film tells the story of Jeannine and tells why she became a nun, her life in the convent, her success, she leaving the convent, trying to be a singer as Jeannine Deckers and not Sister Smile (she was not allowed), finally gave up and went to live with Annie, her lover for something like 20 years. The story focuses in the “happy” beginnings and briefly shows the downturn. This was done on purpose to make a more entertaining movie according to an interview, as the downturn ends tragically. Unfortunately what they left out is her life with Annie, but still this is totally a lesbian interest film, even if what is shown is not the traditional love story. I suggest that after watching the movie you browse the net to read about the end of her story that’s fast forwarded in the movie to the tragic finale that in the film looks not tragic at all.

The movie as a movie is gorgeous with impeccable recreation of the sixties and great filming in a real convent. Performances by all actresses playing nuns are really credible and the film in general has quite high production values. What I really didn’t like was the way they rushed the end to have a pathetic sort of happy finale.

This is not a biopic as they took many artistic liberties to make the movie entertaining and have to say that they succeeded, except for the abrupt end that leaves you knowing that there has to be more to the story than what they showed. Also I better mention that I got the impression that the general movie message is not in favor of the Catholic Church; but then what they show is typical Church business behavior.

I enjoyed the movie a lot and simply loved Cécile De France characterization. The story is not really a happy one but the film is done in such a way that makes it very entertaining and honestly, it’s impossible to take your eyes from the lead actress while she’s on the screen… which happily, is almost always!

Not a masterpiece but a very entertaining movie that I recommend to many that read the blog and appreciate a story of a strong, maybe vain and surely lonely women looking for someone that loves her and to love back.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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