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And while the nuns were wonderfully played (McEwan was the best of a fine lot), I would have like to have seen more of their side--how do they form their opinion of the girls, how do they justify their sadism? Showing their side would have again helped give the film more texture, make it more than the mere anti-Catholic Church, pro-feminist screed that it seems to be. This one-sidedness is especially felt in that scene where one of the girls stands up to Sister Bridget after Crispin was taken away, and she has a brief attack of self-doubt. If we knew more of what went on in her head, that moment could have been more powerful. As it is, it seemed puzzling--surely she knew about the abuses Crispin was subject to, or at least purposely turned a blind eye towards it? Why the crisis of conscience?
And maybe my biggest complaint would be reserved for the end titles. I've always thought end titles (where are they now?) should only be used when depicting actual people; otherwise, you're claiming a realism that just isn't there, and Mullan seems to be saying that his characters are composites. I disliked it as far back as American Graffiti, I disliked it in something as recent as Three Kings, and I certainly dislike it here.