Synopsis by Mark Deming
Most nuns are not like Sister Helen -- she's tough as nails, can curse like a sailor, and woe be unto anyone who gets on her bad side. But most nuns probably haven't had a past like Sister Helen's, either; a longtime alcoholic, Helen gave up drinking only after the death of both of her children (one of whom was murdered) and her husband (whose death was related to his own drinking problem). After getting clean and sober, Helen became a Benedictine Nun, and she now runs a halfway house for recovering drug and alcohol abusers in a rough neighborhood in the South Bronx. Sister Helen is a documentary that looks at her often difficult life and her current crusade to help addicts get clean, as she shares her home with 21 men struggling with sobriety. Taking no guff and offering compassion only to those who deserve it, Sister Helen's attitude redefines the phrase "tough love," and among her charges are men who are grateful for her help, and a few who are resentful of her methods and distrustful of her motivations. Sister Helen received the Director's Award for Best Documentary at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
nun, halfway-house, alcoholism, compassion, crusade, recovery [health], drug-addiction, ex-convict, sobriety