Norman Jewison's adaptation of John Pielmeier's Broadway hit is a muddled pseudo-spiritual murder mystery featuring three strong performances. The confusing story revolves around a search for the killer of an infant apparently born by a young nun (Meg Tilly) of mystical tendencies, who has no memory of the experience. Pielmeier's script shuttles between two plot threads which never really come together: the police investigation of the baby's death, and an inquiry into the nature of religion which develops from a psychiatrist's (Jane Fonda) examination of the otherworldly young nun. Since nothing is ever fully resolved, it's difficult to say what the film is about, but in its flirtation with immaculate conception and suggestion of miraculous events, it seems to chastise the skeptical about questioning the possibility of such occurrences. Fonda, Tilly, and Anne Bancroft -- as a worldly mother superior -- are all superb, often making one feel that there is more to this silly material than is actually there.
by Michael Costello review