Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 12.5%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 2 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Tehran Taboo by Rob Gonsalves

Final Portrait by Rob Gonsalves

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story by Jay Seaver

Before We Vanish by Jay Seaver

Dear Dictator by Peter Sobczynski

Tomb Raider (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Darken by Jay Seaver

Early Man by Jay Seaver

Beyond Skyline by Jay Seaver

Agent Mr. Chan by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Sister Helen
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Sister Helen is a saint -- a potty-mouthed, loud saint."
5 stars

The key to making a documentary that will appeal to mainstream viewers is to tell a good story. Maybe this sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many documentarians seem to think their only job is to regurgitate a bunch of fly-on-the-wall footage and call it a day.

"Sister Helen" tells a story. If it weren't 100 percent true, it would be perfectly acceptable as fiction. It has a beginning, middle and end, and the protagonist is a fiery, larger-than-life character. Real life, it turns out, CAN be interesting.

Sister Helen is a former alcoholic who became a Benedictine nun after the deaths of her husband and sons. Now she runs a half-way house for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics in the South Bronx, operating on principles of tough love, strict curfews, random urine tests (she pronounces it "yur-EEN") and a vocabulary far more colorful than Maria Von Trapp ever used.

Her favorite expression is a growling "Hello!," as in, "When I tell you to piss, you piss! Hello!"

Yes indeed, Sister Helen is a character worth watching, and kudos to directors Rob Fruchtman and Rebecca Cammisa, for capturing it well.

There are eyebrow-raising moments with Robert, Helen's right-hand man and himself a recovering addict. Robert disapproves of some of her methods, going so far as to attribute them to selfishness. Ashish, an Indian man who has been kicked out of Sister Helen's place several times for falling off the wagon, gets royally chewed out by the angry nun -- and then speaks of her in nothing but glowing terms. It's tough love, but it is love indeed: When a resident fails a drug test, Helen lies awake all night worrying about it.

Helen's own health is eventually more of a factor than she'd like it to be, and that's where the film becomes more than just a documentary. It's a real live MOVIE now, with people you care about facing crises. "Sister Helen" is entertaining and moving, and Sister Helen is a saint -- potty mouth notwithstanding.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7955&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/07/03 01:50:18
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/14/04 Joseph Del valle very inspiring. God Bless You sister Helen!! 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  10-Jan-2002 (NR)



Directed by
  Rebecca Cammisa
  Rob Fruchtman

Written by

  Sister Helen

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast