Sundance Review: Rebel Hearts



One of the main criticisms which can be levelled at any major religion is that it has failed to keep up with the times. Whether that’s in the way they operate or some of their tenets which often date back thousands of years. Despite many mini-schisms, Christianity is as guilty as any of being archaic and outdated. This is particularly the case in Catholicism, where many of its beliefs and practices go as far back as the time of Jesus, and beyond.

Located in Los Angeles, California, Immaculate Heart College has always been a little different. It was staffed by nuns, who lived in the neighbouring home where they were bound by strict Catholic doctrine and rules. When America witnessed a period of liberalisation during the 1960s, some of the nuns running the college, including Sisters Anita Caspary, Helen Kelley, and Corita Kent, took the opportunity to forward a radical feminist and social agenda. Their struggles are captured in Rebel Hearts.

Rebel Hearts is a story of a group of nuns putting Christian values ahead of diktats from the Catholic Church and a hard-line local cardinal. Pedro Kos’s film is a stirring tribute to a body of women who through their bravery changed perceptions and improved the lives of others. Interweaving contemporary interviews with archive footage, newsreel, animation and a stylistic flourish, Rebel Hearts tells a rip-roaring yarn of fearlessness and courage.

Rebel Hearts screened at Sundance Film Festival.

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