Audrey Hepburn has always been in my life in one way or another through her films. Two films, which were always my favorites, profoundly impressed me because of her acting and because of her inner self; it always shines through in the characters she plays. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, especially, The Nun’s Story were her greatest roles and most well-known films. In The Nun’s Story she gave the performance of her life and, I think, it was the greatest film she made. The message of that film, basically, is the need for each individual to find out who they really are in this life. Her story, in the role she plays in this film, is a young woman, Gabrielle van der Mal [Sister Luke] who enters the convent at a very tender age. While in the convent she struggles for years to be as good a nun as she possibly can and she seemingly accomplishes that. After years of training to be a nun and a nurse, finally, she is able to be transferred to the Belgian Congo in Africa, her life’s dream, to help the African natives. This was her main reason for entering the order of nuns. However, in Africa, she is told that she will assist the European surgeon, Dr. Fortunati, who works in the hospital for white Europeans in the Congo in need of medical intervention for their own health issues. Sister Luke experiences some of her greatest challenges, not only as a nurse but, especially, as a nun due to the doctor’s critical observations of her behavior as a nun. Over time she becomes conflicted with the duties of being a nun and the duties of being a nurse. Tensions within her build and build until the struggle is too much for her. She becomes sick with tuberculosis and then is cured by the doctor. Eventually, she is sent back to Europe to escort a very important European who needs assistance because he has had a mental breakdown. Throughout the film, she is constantly reminded by her superiors in the convent that her first duty is to be a nun. Upon returning to the motherhouse of her order in Belgium she is told by Mother General that she will not being going back to Africa anytime soon because of the war (WWII) which will soon begin. For the rest of the story you will need to see the film and how it ends.
This film and its majestic, touching and soulful soundtrack is among the best to date in cinematic history. It will certainly be worthwhile to watch it just for that. You will feel deeply the overall message that it portrays so dramatically and so well. It will truly be an unforgettable experience which may last for your entire lifetime. It certainly did that for me.