Deloris Van Cartier now is in danger
For seeing a murder, but not from a stranger.
Her boyfriend named Vince is a mobster, it seems,
And Reno’s not safe with his myriad schemes.
She goes to police, who have witness protection
And place her somewhere sure to ward off detection.
She leaves her job singing in clubs to begin
Her time in a convent, much to her chagrin.
Disguised as a nun, “Mary Clarence” prepares
To lie low and pray to the Big Guy Upstairs.
The strict Reverend Mother alone knows the truth
And dislikes Deloris, who seems so uncouth.
Deloris is shocked at their habits ascetic;
Their choir and parish are rather pathetic.
Befriending some nuns, she’s impelled to the choir
And tries to light up the nuns’ long-dormant fire.
The new practiced choir is unveiled at Mass
And sounds better, bringing in people who pass.
The old Reverend Mother thinks this is too strange,
But others are thrilled at the musical change.
Deloris and friends start to live out their calls
And help the community outside the walls.
They soon hear the Pope will be coming to hear
The Sisters, but soon Vince’s goons interfere.
Locating Deloris, they take her to Reno
To answer to Vince at his fancy casino.
The nuns follow after and rescue their “Sister,”
And Vince is arrested when lawmen assist her.
Deloris, to wrap up her life as a nun,
Conducts the Pope’s concert and wows everyone.

Sister Act is proof that Hollywood can handle religion in film without always mocking it. There are references to the nuns as “penguins” and the cliché of some nuns being overly strict killjoys, which some may indeed be. Despite these aspects, the film confirms the nuns’ way of life and service to God and man by the end. They assist the community, they earn respect even from mobsters, and, although the updated music style isn’t quite reverent enough for a church service (in my opinion), it nonetheless gives glory to God and manages to attract pedestrians into the church for the Mass’s message. On top of all this, the movie is actually funny and surprisingly clean.

From Whoopi Goldberg’s usual clever banter in the face of danger to Kathy Najimy’s overly perky Sister Mary Patrick, the film offers up some great fish-out-of-water laughs (Deloris’s prayer before the meal always earns a chuckle) alongside some memorable musical numbers. I especially like how they rewrote “My Guy” as “My God,” and the reimagined version of “Hail, Holy Queen” is truly glorious.

The best part is, despite showing Deloris’s seedy mobster boyfriend (played by Harvey Keitel), the film never shows its violence, and the language is kept at a believable minimum. Sister Act was one of Whoopi Goldberg’s best films and definitely deserves a place on my list.

Best line: (Reverend Mother, to the nuns in a Reno casino, looking for Deloris) “Brace yourselves, sisters. Spread out and look for Mary Clarence. Try to blend in.”

Artistry: 6
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 9
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 7
Watchability: 9
TOTAL: 38 out of 60

Next: #240 – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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