Parents' Guide to

Sister Act

By Colette DeDonato, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

'90s musical comedy has violence, cursing.

Movie PG 1992 100 minutes
Sister Act Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 8+

As fun as I remembered

It's a little raunchier than I remembered, mostly with light swearing, but still just as much fun to watch and my 8yo loved it. There is implied violence, not seen.
age 13+

Not Your Average Nun Story

Where would you go if you had to hide from the mob? Lounge singer and '60s girl group aficionado Delores van Cartier finds herself at St. Catherine's, a somewhat rundown, quite cloistered convent. Now, with a proper nun moniker (Sister Mary Clarence) and full attire, habit and all, she's suffocating. That is, until Reverend Mother orders her to join the choir, which rocks the convent off its feet. On the positive side, Deloris does a lot of growing in this flick. She begins as a flighty, morally questionable, self-absorbed woman. Convent life does repress her personality somewhat, which isn't good. But within the convent, Deloris discovers the value of real, reciprocal relationships, reflection, and sacrifice. She becomes particularly close to Sister Lazarus, Sister Patrick, and Sister Robert, all of whom aid in her journey and help persuade Reverend Mother to come to her rescue when needed. For her part, Reverend Mother is another good character study. She begins as a legalistic nun who cares about her sisters so much that she smothers them, never allowing them beyond the convent's walls. When Deloris revolutionizes St. Catherine's, Reverend Mother also becomes bitter, calling herself a "relic" and threatening to leave. However, a tense climax shows both women that there is good in each other, and that both their personalities are respected and needed. Several things make Sister Act inappropriate for kids. Deloris' boyfriend is a murderous mobster who tries to kill her as well as the other nuns. Deloris has quite a profane mouth at first and makes disparaging remarks about Catholicism, as well as flippant remarks about Jesus and Satan. Some families may feel that Reverend Mother's character makes the church look stiff and condemning. For the right audiences, though, this can be an entertaining and thought-provoking flick. For example, families might want to speculate on what might've happened if, as the mobsters suggest, Deloris joined the convent for real. Would she have become a better person or not fit in? Why? The rollicking music is a great added bonus.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (18 ):

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.

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