BREAKING HABITS

★★★

A STRONG WOMAN, BUT A WEAK DOCUMENTARY

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris dos Santos
7th April 2019

While it could be a great title for ‘Sister Act 3', ‘Breaking Habits’ documents an issue Disney wouldn't dare to go near - weed. This documentary follows the Sisters of the Valley, a group of nuns who sell medicinal cannabis products (you may remember them famously smoking weed with Aubrey Plaza a couple years back). The sisterhood was formed by Christine Meeusenfled, now Sister Kate, who after losing everything from her husband and becoming homeless finally picks herself up and turns to the cannabis business to not only provide for her kids, but to get a new lease on life.

The film is an interesting one, and even though it’s about an often "controversial" topic, the film feels safe. While it obviously focuses on one clear side of the argument, the film never really pushes you one way or the other; however you feel about legalising marijuana when you walk into the film, you’ll come out feeling the same way. We do get to see various police officers, lawyers, and the general public voice their concerns both directly to audience and to the nuns, but there is very little impact.

'BREAKING HABITS' TRAILER

The biggest hurdle the film has to face is religion - while they wear habits, they are not Catholic nuns, and while the film does mildly explain it - the nuns are a religious community of women living under vows - it never goes further than that. It would have been nice to explore that a little more to see how it all works. Having said that, one of the most interesting moments is when the nuns are confronted by a pastor, and they actually have an interesting conversation that highlights some of pros and cons of what these woman are doing, but it’s very brief.

Because the first half of the film is accounting Christine’s life, the film becomes more about her personal journey than the nuns themselves, and while I understand that choice, we never get a chance to really learn about the sisterhood. We never even dive too deeply on why they went with weed, outside of money; they say there are medical reasons but they never go into it, again the issue is just left floating on the surface.

The film is an interesting one, and even though it’s about an often "controversial" topic, the film feels safe. However you feel about legalising marijuana when you walk into the film, you’ll come out feeling the same way.

I still overall enjoyed the documentary, and Christine is a really interesting person and captivating to watch. To go through an incredibly tough life and now have this thriving business, it’s a great underdog story.

‘Breaking Habits’ is an engaging documentary, but only scratches the surface. It gets you invested in Christine's story, but it feels more like reading material is required to fully understand what these sisters are doing.

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