Thursday, June 13, 2024

REBEL NUN (2024) Tribeca

Portrait of anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean who is best known for writing the book Dead Man Walking.

This is a good but frustrating biography that will tell you a great deal about the life of the good sister. However because of the structure of the film, it is missing the real emotional punch. 

The problem here is that the film moves back and forth through time jumping around almost at random.  We are told the stories of several of the men who she comforted on death row, but leaves out details until later that would make the story more emotional...until a later point. After the reveal we are left wondering why that wasn't told up front because the left out part was often the emotional hook. It also leaves several pieces just sort of hanging and unconnected, such as the one  family meant to represent all of the the people who don't like Prejean ministering to the damned.

Which sets up a bigger issue in that the film doesn't deal with things as a whole, there is a sense that the selected moments are supposed to represent the whole but it doesn't allow the whole tapestry of Prejean's life to be seen.

While not a bad film, it could have been better and had an emotional punch. Instead it's just sort of there.

That said expect it to be over praised and over pushed during awards season.

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