Blu-ray, Digital Release: Novitiate

Digital Release Date: Feb. 20, 2018, Blu-ray Release Date: March 6, 2018
Price: Blu-ray $22.99
Studio: Sony

Serious stuff can be found in the period drama Novitiate, which concerns a abbey of cloistered Catholic nuns coming to terms with changes in the Church during the mid-1960s.

The film revolves around a young girl’s first initiation with love, in this case with God.  Raised by a non-religious, single mother in rural Tennessee in the 1950s, a scholarship to Catholic school soon finds Cathleen Margaret Qualley (TV’s The Nice Guys) drawn into the mystery and romanticism of a life devoted to the worship and servitude of God. With the dawn of the Vatican II era, radical changes in the Church are threatening the course of nuns’ lives.  As Cathleen progresses from the postulant to the novitiate stage of training, she finds her faith repeatedly confronted and challenged by the harsh, often inhumane realities of being a servant of God.  Along with her fellow novices, Cathleen finds herself struggling with issues of faith, sexuality, and recent changes in the life of the Church.

Margaret Qualley in Novitiate

Written and directed by Maggie Betts, who won the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize as Breakthrough Director, Noviate co-stars Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County) as Cathleen’s skeptical mother, Dianna Agron (TV’s Glee) as a sympathetic mentor and Morgan Saylor (TV’s Homeland), Liana Liberato (Trust) and Maddie Hasson (I Saw the Light) as hopeful novices. But it’s Melissa Leo who really delivers as the sternly devout Mother Superior (Melissa Leo, The Fighter) who must deal with the reality that the church wants to abandon the strict behavior and religious lifestyle that she has dedicated herself to for more than 40 years.

The Blu-ray and DVD incarnations of the R-rated film include the following bonuses:

  • Director’s Commentary
  • National Board of Review Q&A with Maggie Betts, Melissa Leo, Margaret Qualley, Julianne Nicholson and Dianna Agron
  • Alternate Ending plus Deleted and Extended Scenes
Buy or Rent Novitiate

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.