breaking habits

DIRECTOR: robert ryan (debut)
documentary

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★

In the town of Merced, CA, a commune of activist nuns run an illegal cannabis farm. They use it to make medicine for everything from epilepsy to cancer.

From the outset the story of Breaking Habits is a highly intriguing proposition: a group of nuns growing weed to help people suffering from extreme illness and those on their deathbed. But its slightly more complex than that.

Cheated by her husband of 17 years, once high-flying corporate exec Christine Meeusen fled penniless with her three young children as her American dream began to unravel. Determined to make a living for her family, she discovered the lucrative business of cannabis farming and met her calling as the founder of medicinal-marijuana empire Sisters of the Valley. Shedding her former life, Christine became Sister Kate: on a mission to provide her products to those in need.

Breaking Habits is a tale of betrayal, violence, homelessness, loss and the triumph of the human spirit. Christine Meeusen AKA Sister Kate's story is terribly sad, but here you see a woman refusing to accept the hand that others have dealt her and her attempt to create her own destiny. Her grit and determination is nothing short of inspirational and miraculous. 

Sisters of the Valley aren't part of any denominational affiliated religion; they're not Catholic nuns. But from the opening scene you are left with the impression from Sister Kate through a story she tells that Sisters could be Catholic nuns. 

So when its revealed at the beginning of the third act that they're not Catholic nuns you feel slightly hoodwinked. As a storyteller you're really walking a knife edge when you attempt to pull this trick off and Robert Ryan kinda gets away with it. 

Sister Kate's story is nothing short of inspirational and miraculous. 

★★★

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