In 1954, seven-year-old Cathleen Harris is introduced to Catholicism by her agnostic mother (Julianne Nicholson) and is drawn in the faith. At 12, a shy and reserved Cathleen is offered a scholarship and enrolls in a newly-opened Catholic school, to where she claims to have felt the presence of God. At 17, to her mother’s dismay, Cathleen (Margaret Qualley) pursues a vocation as a nun, claiming to have earned a religious calling.
Cathleen enters a Catholic convent as a postulant under the tutelage of the Reverend Mother (Melissa Leo). In the convent she meets fellow nuns Sister Evelyn (Morgan Saylor), Sister Emily (Liana Liberato), and Sister Margaret (Ashley Bell), all of whom suffer from sexual urges during consecration, with Cathleen developing an attraction towards a fellow novitiate. Meanwhile, the Reverend Mother becomes alarmed with the planned reforms of the Second Vatican Council, terrified that changes the archbishop insists upon will destroy the community that has been the home for these women their entire adult lives.
Novitiate is a 2017 American drama film written and directed by Margaret Betts. Starring Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Morgan Saylor, Dianna Agron, Julianne Nicholson, Liana Liberato, Denis O’Hare, and Maddie Hasson, the film follows a young woman (Qualley) who starts to question her faith as she trains to become a nun.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2017. Shortly after, Sony Pictures Classics acquired U.S distribution rights to the film. It was released on October 27, 2017. Over ten weeks, the film grossed $570,409 at 163 North American theaters.
Directed by: Margaret Betts
Starring: Dianna Agron, Chris Zylka, Julianne Nicholson, Margaret Qualley, Liana Liberato, Morgan Saylor, Eline Powell, Denis O’Hare, Melissa Leo, Rebecca Dayan, Ashley Bell, Maddie Hasson
Screenplay by: Margaret Betts
Production Design by: John Sanders
Cinematography by: Kat Westergaard
Film Editing by: Susan E. Morse
Costume Design by: Vanessa Porter
Set Decoration by: Gia Grosso
Music by: Christopher Stark
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexuality and nudity.
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: October 27, 2017