The film stars Margaret Qualley (TV’s The Leftovers) as Sister Cathleen, a girl training to be a nun during the Vatican II era of the Catholic Church in the early ’60s, when major changes were occurring within the Church authority and doctrine. Cathleen faces crises of faith, sexuality, and identity among this time of great change. “Novitiate” refers to a novice, particularly within religious orders.
Co-starring with Qualley are Melissa Leo as Mother Superior as well as Denis O’Hare (TV’s American Horror Story), Morgan Saylor (TV’s Homeland), Julianne Nicholson (Black Mass), Dianna Agron (TV’s Glee), Liana Liberato (Best of Me), Maddie Hasson (God Bless America), and Qualley’s The Leftovers brother Chris Zylka.
Sony Pictures Classics negotiated a mid-seven-figure deal for the movie. Word out of Sundance says that the film is quite provocative for its subject matter and is a solid breakout for director Betts.