Capsule Review: Novitiate

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Maggie Betts’ feature film debut, for the most part, does not feel like the work of an amateur. The shot selection, framing, and tone are all top-notch. Set in the early 1960s and during the era of the reform that would be known as Vatican II, a young lady, perfectly played by Diana Agron, decides to join the nunhood due to her unadorned love for God, but things get complicated. A changing, more progressive church, and sexual desire for her peers starts to interfere, leading her to question herself. Novitiate is a messy, sprawling 123 minute film that leaves you truly shaken by its final frame. "Novitiate" needs a heavy editing job but Melissa Leo, stunning as the conflicted nun from hell, is a particular standout and surely receive an Oscar nomination come next January.
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