Sister Helen

"Good"

Sister Helen Review


If you think all nuns are silent-vowed, virginal do-gooders like Mother Theresa, think again. Here comes Sister Helen, a foul-mouthed widow in New York City who stands toe to toe with druggies and alcoholics as she runs a shelter for men trying to get clean.

This documentary dutifully tracks Helen Travis's later years as she operates the shelter, a grim building on a desolate corner of the city. Her frequent run-ins with the residents as she enforces curfews and demands urine samples are colorful ("When I say piss, you piss!"), but you'll probably get the picture after about 20 minutes. Spend much longer with Travis and you'll probably start to feel she's being made fun of a little, like a live flesh version of one of those punching nun hand puppets. That's not far from the truth: Helen is world-weary and streetwise, and before long we get it, that tough love is the only way to get crackheads and junkies to clean up their act.

One interesting, if sad, aspect of the film is that it tracks Travis all the way through her death, so even though there are plenty of extras on the new DVD, don't expect a reunion with Travis to discuss "what happened next." (Her shelter continues to operate under the care of her daughter, some of the junkies are clean, some aren't.) And there you have it: One nun, one tenemant building, and one incredibly aggressive management style. She's got one big lesson to share with us (love hurts), but deeper meaning is a little trickier to find.



Sister Helen

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 1st January 2002

Distributed by: New Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.