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The Calling

2009, cert 15, running time 105 minutes

Director: Jan Dunn

Joanna is about to graduate from University with her whole life set up for her but she has decided to face up to a truth she has been avoiding her whole life. Since she was small, she has had the desire to become a Nun. She is set on joining a closed order of Benedictines. Her best friend cannot believe it, her boyfriend is devastated and her mother feels it’s just a phase. The only encouragement she gets is from the family’s religious housekeeper, Consuela When she finally gets to the convent, the liberalism of a politically active Novice Sister, Ignatious and a bunch of women with border-line mental illness, including a psychotic Mother Superior an alcoholic football fan in charge of the vineyard, an over-pious floor mopper, Sister Hilda to name a few at first makes her wonder if she’s following the right path after all but as she gets to know the Sisters and the enormous community bond they all share and the spiritual love that connects them she starts to see glimpses of her own spiritual fulfilment. Several weeks into her vocation she discovers something in herself which brings a whole new series of secrets out into the open until eventually the bond she has with Sister Ignatious dictates and assists in her destiny.

Starring Brenda Blethyn, Emily Beecham, Susannah York, Rita Tushingham, Pauline McLynn, Joanna Scanlan, Susannah Harker, Harriet Thorpe, Amanda Donohoe and Corin Redgrave.


"Gypo writer/director Jan Dunn again works wonders with a limited budget in this simmering convent melodrama. Ignoring the misgivings of her mother (Amanda Donohoe) and her best friend (Chloe Sirene), Joanna (Emily Beacham) goes on retreat to St Bertha's priory to consider her possible vocation. There, she promptly falls foul of some of the more dubious nuns, but the progressive Novice Sister (Brenda Blethyn) sees potential in the new postulant — especially when Joanna is faced with some trying personal matters. The fine cast also includes Susannah York and Rita Tushingham, plus Corin Redgrave making one of his last appearances as a bishop with a guilty secret. It may occasionally veer a touch too brusquely from gentle comedy to soap operatics, but this is still an entertaining and thoughtful insight into the effect that human frailty can have on even the strongest faith."
Radio Times

"We’re a nun-obsessed society, it seems – from The Sound of Music and Sister Act on stage to Doubt infiltrating last year’s Oscar nominations, the wimples are everywhere. Now they’re adorning the heads of several Establishment actresses in Jan Dunn’s sensitive film.

Newcomer Emily Beecham plays a young woman determined to take the veil and holds her own well against such stalwarts as Brenda Blethyn and Susannah York. The reservations of her friends and family are sensitively tackled without taking sides, and the nuns are a (slightly predictably) quirky bunch. Their dry humour and lack of tact help to offset the more fraught moments. It never loses the feeling of being a gentle film, despite the rate at which it racks up deaths and dilemmas.

This is one to keep in mind if you’re due to spend some quality time with your mum."
3/4 stars - TVBomb

"Sisters are doing it for themselves in this NUN’S STORY update from writer/ director Jan Dunn, which sees a devout lass ( Emily Beecham) enter a priory to the dismay of mummy Amanda Donohoe. There, the lass encounters a kindly Brenda Blethyn, a demented Susannah York and various roadblocks that lead her to question whether or not a life of spiritual asceticism is really for her. Overstocked with incident and trading the line between awkward comedy and melodrama, THE CALLING ultimately gets by on the quality of its cast and Dunn’s admirable ability to make a virtually non-existent budget go an impressively long way."
Ttotal Film

"Fabulous film, the combination of light and dark is just breathtaking."
BBC Radio Eclectic Light Show

"Bravely blends challenging ideas with laughter"
Radio Four

"This film isn't just for the religious"
Church Times

"A hothouse atmosphere... Blethyn particularly stands out"


Winner - EMILY BEECHAM - New Talent Trailblazers, Edinburgh International film Festival

Opening Gala Film - London Independent Film Festival

The Calling

Image Gallery



15th April 2010
- Curzon, Mayfair, opening night film of the Independent Film Festival

From 23rd April 2010 :
- Vue Cinema Thanet – 23rd onwards
- Gate Picturehouse, Notting Hill – film screens 24 and 25 April
- Greenwich Picturehouse – film screens daily week of 23 April.
- Brighton Duke of York’s – 18th May.
- Norwich Cinema City - Tuesday 4 May.
- Belper- Picturehouse –May 5th.
- York City Screen – May 6th with Q&A for mat show, and eve show.
- Sheffield – Showroom 7th May.
- Henley Regal Picturehouse – May 16th. Sunday matinee screening plus Q&A
- David Lean cinema, Croydon – screening on May 18, 19 and 20. With Q&A if possible on any of these days but would need to be mat show as the older audience don’t like going out to cinema at night.
- Cameo, Edinburgh – screen for week of 14 May. Mostly mats but there will be an evening show or two. No Q&A here as too far.
- Southampton Harbour Lights– 27 May. Matinee screening plus Q&A. Film will get eve show also.
- Liverpool FACT - 20 May. Evening screening plus Q&A. Would be fantastic if Rita is free too.
- Stratford Picturehouse– any Tuesday or Sunday matinee after 21 May with Q&A if possible
- Curzon Cinema Clevedon 24th May for 4 days.
- Cubby Broccoli National Media Museum Bradford Tuesday 1st and Monday 14 June
- 4th July (3 days) @ Gulbenkian Canterbury – DVD ONLY
- 12th July (2 days) @ Forum Northampton - DVD ONLY





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