Sister Smile (film)

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Soeur Sourire
Sœur Sourire poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Stijn Coninx
Produced by Eric Heumann
Marc Sillam
Written by Stijn Coninx
Ariane Fert
Chris Vander Stappen
Starring Cécile de France
Sandrine Blancke
Jan Decleir
Tsilla Chelton
Music by Bruno Fontaine
Cinematography Yves Vandermeeren
Edited by Philippe Ravoet
Distributed by KFD (Belgium)
Océan Film (France)
Release date
  • 23 April 2009 (2009-04-23)
Running time
120 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $7.3 million[1]
Box office $2.9 million

Sister Smile (original title: Sœur Sourire) is a Belgian-French biographical drama film directed by Stijn Coninx and written by Coninx, Ariane Fert and Chris Vander Stappen. The film stars Cécile de France as Jeanine Deckers (also known as The Singing Nun).[2] The film won the Magritte Award for Best Costume Design.


Belgium in the 1950s. Jeanine Deckers dreams of becoming a singer and of going to Africa as a missionary. Against her family's wishes, she joins a convent. However, the strict rules become too much for her. She rebels, especially when her guitar is taken from her and when she hears that she'll have to wait several years before being sent to Africa for missionary work. Despite being punished, she is eventually given back her guitar so she can entertain young people visiting the monastery. One day she is filmed by Belgian television while singing and playing music to a group of youngsters. This launches her career as a commercially successful artist, yet everything she earns is sent to the monastery and the head nuns keep her identity secret from the general public, while keeping her success secret from Deckers herself.

Later Deckers discovers the truth and eventually gets fed up with obeying the other nuns. She leaves the monastery and moves in with a lesbian girlfriend of hers. Deckers desperately tries to get her career back on the road, but she hears she's unable to use her stage name "Soeur Sourire", because the monastery owns the rights to it. She starts performing under her own name, but due to her controversial songs about birth control nobody wants to sign her anymore for concerts. Deckers is reduced to singing in small strip clubs and gets depressed. Rejected by both the monastery and her own family she spends her final years with her lesbian girlfriend and commits suicide in her company.



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