Saturday night the Grouchmate was scanning the channels for an old movie and found The Nun's Story on Turner Classic Movies channel. The last time I remember seeing this one was when my parents took us kids to a drive in movie, probably around 1960, so I thought "Why not watch it?".
Usually I avoid Audry Hepburn movies because I don't care for her sophisticated mannerisms, she's too skinny to suit me, her neck is too long and her eyebrows are too thick. Oh well...I got over my prejudices because the story line was so interesting and my mate asked me to watch it with her. If any of you haven't view this one in a while then I suggest you look it up and give it another try because at the end you will be struck by the similarity it has with leaving a certain group that we were affiliated with at one time.
The main character, Gabrielle, is the daughter of a prominent surgeon who shares her father's passion for medicine and healing but who yearns to go the the Belgian Congo (1930) as a nurse. Since the only way she could do this was to enter the order of nuns who were dedicated to this purpose (remember, this was waaaaay before women's' lib!) she "forsakes all" , including family and influence, and submits herself to the Sisters' community and its rules, foremost of which is unquestioning obedience. Sound vaguely familiar?
It soon become apparent that this obedience thing is going to be a real trial of the flesh for her, but she perseveres, after some setbacks, and is finally stationed in the Congo where she shows initiative (bad when you do not first ask permission) and an obsessive work ethic (also bad when it keeps you from following orders).
After a health crisis she is chosen to accompany a VIP back to Europe but, upon arrival, she is disappointed to find that she will NOT be re-posted to Africa. Not to worry though, for WW II soon breaks out and she is compelled to minister to German soldiers.
Without going further into the plot line I WILL comment on the over riding theme, and that is that unquestioning obedience, in the face of moral decision making, is more than she can take. The final scene where she finally leaves the Order, and walks out the door without so much as a "goodbye, good luck" hit me like a ton of bricks! The whole leave taking reminded me of the moral crisis of leaving that despicable cult we were in, including the self doubt and uncertainty that accompanied it.
Check it out and let me know what you all think.