Sister Act

 
Whoopi's heavenly comedy has a rebellious side.
  • Review Date: January 8, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While you'd expect Whoopi's character to be the one needing to be "saved," she's the one who saves the church and helps the neighborhood by using her talents and bringing out the talents of others.

Violence

Story begins with a real, though not graphic, gangster-style murder.

Sex

Some kissing and mild mentions of sex.

Language

Low-level cursing such as "damn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some references to alcohol. Whoopi's character, who's reluctantly hiding out in a convent, inspired the movie's tagline: "No booze! No sex! No drugs! No way!"

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while most of this movie takes place in a cloistered Catholic convent, the story begins with a murder committed off-screen by the main character's boyfriend, a stereotypical Italian-American mafia character. When the main character, a lounge singer with a shady past only alluded to, is sent to a convent to hide, she doesn't respect the rules (the movie's tagline: "No booze! No sex! No drugs! No way!"), makes a number of jokey references to what she's forced to live without, and sneaks out to a biker bar. While she rebels against her holy surroundings, she also uses her talents to spiff up the choir and the community.

What's the story?

Whoopi Goldberg plays Deloris Van Cartier, a Reno lounge singer and dancer who is forced to leave her racy lifestyle behind when she witnesses her gangster boyfriend (Harvey Keitel) shoot someone. The police hide her away in an inner-city convent where she must reluctantly pretend, with the help of an equally reluctant Mother Superior played by Maggie Smith, to be a nun. Deloris' expertise as a doo-wop Supremes-style performer pays off when she is employed to rescue the severely off-key choir's reputation. Suddenly, the once sleep-inducing choir is as lively as a Broadway show.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The musical numbers really make SISTER ACT, and Goldberg shines as the rebellious "nun" whose iconoclastic attitude affects not just the choir, but everyone in the convent who soon dons new habits -- both good and bad. Deloris' gregarious spirit and instant popularity eventually garner unneeded media attention: the Pope comes to visit, and soon after, TV crews. When this captures the attention of Deloris' ex-boyfriend, who is still trying to find her, the mob-crime focus of the story is back on, bringing PG-style justice to make a happy ending.

Sister Act's success -- due mostly to Goldberg, who was brilliantly cast after Bette Midler abandoned the project -- spawned a 1992 performance by Goldberg and the "nuns" at a Democratic fundraiser for Bill Clinton, and Sister Act: The Musical, a stage adaptation of the film, premiered at the Pasadena playhouse in 2006. A sequel ,Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, followed in 1993.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about "the mob" and Italian-American stereotypes and why they are so prevalent -- nearly revered -- on TV and in movies. Families can also discuss what it means to rebel and whether there are circumstances in which rebellion is justified. Even if Deloris is victorious in the end, is there a way she could have shown more respect for the convent's rules? What does Deloris, as a streetwise African-American woman, have to offer this troupe of sheltered nuns? What do they have to offer her?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 29, 1992
DVD release date:November 6, 2001
Cast:Kathy Najimy, Maggie Smith, Whoopi Goldberg
Director:Emile Ardolino
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Music and sing-along
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some violence and mild language

This review of Sister Act was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byleftbehindcrazed8 January 4, 2011
age 8+
 

SHOOTING SCENE!!

I love this movie! My mom and I always watch it together, but not with my 6 year old sister, and here's why: the violence. At the beginning there is a very intense scene where Whoopi Goldberg's character is being hunted down by her ex. Also near the end the bad guy's 2 assistants are pointing their guns at Whoopi, but do not shoot at her. She ends up escaping, with the rescue of her nun friends. After you watch this, you'll learn a great lesson, and all the nuns are positive role models.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Hilarious Riot of Fun for Ages 11 an up!

Sister Act might be one of the funniest movies in the world. And the music is awesome. The story tells the story of casino singer Delores VanCartier (Whoopi), who witnesses her (married) mobster boyfriend, Vince, murder (off-screen) a ganster who supposedly leaked to the plolice. A chase ensues but Delores escapes the lounge and goes to the police, who hide her in a convent until she can witness in Vince's trial. In the convent, she sticks out like a sore thumb among the nuns and the strict Mother Superior (Maggie Smith). Soon she finds a place she loves and she teaches the chior. But when the horrible chior turns into a toe-tapping sensation, Vince learns of Delores's location. Sister Act is appropriate for ages 11 and up. I strongly disagree with CommonSense's rating it 9 and up. The only violence is the off-screen murder, and Vince is shot in the arm by the police. But there is talk of Delores having an affair with Vince and there is language such as a**, d**n, and s**t. So, these things make it inappropriate of ages 11 and up, but those who can watch it will have a whole lot of hilarious fun when they do.
Teen, 15 years old Written byCatholicamSoror33 August 18, 2012
age 10+
 

My all time favorite movie!

Sister Act gives a fun, good humor side of the life of Catholic nuns. Although there is violence, these elements were necessary to show how Catholic nuns can do anything they can to help those in need. They represent great role models in real life and the movie!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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