Scottish actor Peter Mullan shows his diversity by writing and directing this tale of the `fallen' women who crowded Ireland's Magdalene launderies during the 20th century.
Winner of the Golden Lion at the VeniceFilm Festival, Mullan's film focuses on Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff), Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone) and Rose (Dorothy Duffy), three teenagers who have been cast out of '60s society. Their `sins'? Margaret was raped by a cousin, Rose had an illegitimate child and attractive orphan Bernadette dared to flutter her eyelashes at some boys. The girls are exiled to a life of hard graft under the stern gaze of Sister Bridget (a haglike Geraldine McEwan).
Fully realising the potential of his feature-length directorial debut Orphans, Mullan draws understated performances from his untried female leads and records their woes with an unflinching, often handheld, lens. The result? A compelling and moving insight into a shameful part of Catholic history.