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"IN THIS HOUSE OF BREDE is based on the novel written by that most talented author, Rumer Godden. She's also the author of BLACK NARCISSUS, another great novel that was made into a wonderful film.This movie begins when an attractive, well-dressed woman leaves her home and travels to an abbey. Phillipa Talbot (Diana Rigg) is a lady who has a successful career and a man who loves her, but is unhappy in that life, and enters the cloistered world of Benedictine nuns.This is a beautiful production and Diana Rigg gives an outstanding performance as a very worldly and sophisticated person who chooses the religious life. The film is spellbinding and it's one of the few stories that really seem to take you into that unknown world where women become nuns. The relationships among the nuns and postulants were interesting and close friendships were not encouraged since everyone was to be loved equally. This story also shows how committed religious deal with their peers when jealousies arise and personalities are conflicted. Yes, the book examines the characters more than the film, but that's always the case, and this is a marvelous production"
Powerful, engaging drama
G. P. Winkler | Washington, DC USA | 01/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cloistered nuns! Why, my agnostic economist friend wondered, would anyone would make a film about them? No car chases, no special effects, no sex. Only the embers of a childhood crush on Diana Rigg persuaded him lift his eyes occasionally from his laptop and glance at the TV. The glances got longer, and my friend turned the laptop off after ten minutes. He was hooked. "Brede" does that.The story charts relationships among four women in a Benedictine abbey. Philippa is a widow who has known worldly success and searing pain. Joanna, an angel made flesh, longs for a surrogate mother. Agnes is a shrewd, stern elder. And the newly elected Abbess Catherine must transcend her fears and limitations in order to hold the convent together.The characters are inexplicably compelling, and their lives are three-dimensional. Like all of us, they struggle through joys, pains, and daily life. Watching them is fascinating, precisely because there are no special effects or car chases to distract us-or them-from the hard, beautiful work of being human.Honesty requires admitting that the film has flaws. Some of the scenes between Philippa and Joanna edge into melodrama, and no one seems to have the sense to sit Joanna down for a good talk. But these are thorns on a rose.Don't just take it from me. Take it from my agnostic James Bond fan: "Brede" is worth watching. In fact, he asked to borrow the book!"
A Forgotten Classic
G. P. Winkler | 02/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having read Rumer Godden's book, I eagerly looked forward to this movie (first shown on the Hallmark Hall of Fame television series).
Although it differs in some respects from the novel, it is a relatively faithful version of Phippa, Joanna, and the other nuns' lives in the cloister.
Diana Rigg gives the best performance in the film as Philippa, a wordly-wise nun who finds you can't escape your past in the religious life--it must be confronted and dealt with, just as in the world. An excellent film."
Movie vs reality
Gertrude | 01/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having lived several years of my life as a religious and a Benedictine, I can state that, for under two hours long, this movie gives quite a good picture of religious life. Nuns, like everyone else, are human beings with all the weaknesses that come with that. Attachments and dependancies on one another do happen, although discouraged, and they aren't necessarily negative. The strong can work through them. And postulants and professed are allowed to speak to each other, at appropriate times of course. Still, human beings are human beings!! Overall a pretty good movie."
Beautiful depiction of cloistered life!
K. McDonald | Sitka, AK United States | 11/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have not yet read the book, so cannot compare the film to it. But, on its own, I found it so compelling and beautiful. This is what true devotion to Christ is about--love. And about trying and trying again until one does finally get it right. The nuns were all very real, in their demeanor, in their foibles, in their interactions and in their strivings to live a holy life. I watched "The Nun's Story" shortly after seeing "In This House of Brede" and was disgusted with its unrealistic portrayl of devotion to Christ, allowing selfishness and pride to triumph over self-giving love. "In This House of Brede" shows us a good deal of the beauty of the Catholic Church through the devotion of the religious life."