25 years since it first hit screens, we take a queer, intersectional lens to the nun-led comedy
“I thought, being away from your convent, that even someone like you could get lonely,” purrs Sister Mary Robert, batting her eyelashes at Deloris. Disguised as a nun, Deloris smiles shyly, feeling safe and at ease for the first time since hiding in the convent.
The 1992 comedy Sister Act was ahead of its time; it challenged the church, tradition and intersectional feminism. But many people don’t know that it also tackled star-crossed, biracial lesbian love affairs in the 1990s. Deloris van Cartier, a flamboyant lounge singer in the witness protection program, falls for Sister Mary Robert, a meek nun – and a definite bottom. Mary Robert aids Deloris in salvaging her moral compass, and Deloris helps Mary Robert abandon her deer in headlights aesthetic, express herself, and lean into the mystical abyss of lesbianism. Every moment between them is fireworks, two worlds colliding at the speed of light, each romantic cliché taking form in a embattled, forbidden lust that only two women of god could endure.
Don’t ship it yet? Allow me to provide some literature. Here’s a list of each susurrus, each longing gaze, and each fluttering heartbeat exchanged between #SisterDeloryRobert.
Deloris’s abusive ex Vince is hunting her down because she’s witnessed a vicious crime. But she’s fed up with men and their tricks – he’s a liar, a cheat and a murderer. She’s moving on from hegemonic masculinity and never looking back.
When Deloris first brunches at the convent, Deloris “chooses” the seat next to Mary Robert – or is it divine intervention? The first time they make eye contact, time stops. Mary Robert is stunned and dazed by Deloris’s beauty. She’s never felt like this before – and certainly not about anyone but Him.
Deloris leads a cumbersome prayer, which the other sisters find bizarre and inappropriate. Mary Robert doesn’t. She finds Deloris’s quirks endearing. They take their seats and exchange another bashful smile. Mary Robert blushes, trying to ignore the warm blood rushing through her nubile veins.
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
While the nuns get busy tending to the garden, #SisterDeloryRobert decides to get biblical. Where better for holy love to blossom than a good ole fuck-garden? They don’t quite take a bite of the forbidden fruit – but rather, they keep it cool with more coy glances. The firsts seeds of their budding love have been planted.
On Deloris’s second night, Mary Robert pays her a secret visit, furtively glancing over her shoulder as she knocks on Deloris’s bedroom door. She gifts Deloris a thoughtful relic from her childhood (a talking daisy toy – unclear if it’s vibrational). Her brother gave it to her when she was young, and only now does she feels safe enough to pass it on to someone special.
Deloris asks if she’ll join her on the bed. Mary Robert knows it’s wrong, but she can’t help herself. She holds Deloris’ gaze and dives daringly into the unknown.
On the bed of sin, they open up to each other. Mary Robert summons one of the oldest moves in the book – saying something deep and contrived, then brushing it off like, I probably sound insane, giving Deloris a chance to reassure her: I was thinking the exact same thing.
Mary Robert divulges, “I’ve always felt that there’s something inside me that I want to give, something that’s only me and nobody else. Does that sound like a terrible thing?” Deloris makes her feel safe and understood, crooning, “No. Doesn’t sound like a terrible thing at all.” With that, a foundation of trust and intimacy is formed.
Mary Robert heads for the door, but whirls around in a barrage of passion to exclaim, “You know how sometimes it’s as if you have to be yourself or you’ll just burst?” Delores assures her, “Yup, I do,” knowing with complete certainty that she’s talking about having sex with women. Mary Robert beams, her smile tearing across her cheeks – a girl in love.
Here’s when things really start to heat up: Deloris helps Mary Robert come out of the closet – the singing closet! Mary Robert had a meek singing voice until Deloris pushed her fingers against Mary Robert’s lower abdomen, applying pressure to her hips and dragging out her inner popstar. The result? Our first glimpse at Mary Robert’s O-face.
At the ladies’ first show, Deloris stares deep into Mary Robert’s eyes, which gives her the courage and confidence she needs to be her truest self.
Mary Robert slays the show, leaving the choir boys bald. Her life was once boring and uninspired, but Deloris’s presence brought colour back to her cheeks.
Find someone who looks at you the way Deloris looks at Mary Robert singing.
Reeling after their first show, Deloris declares that singing is “better than sex.” Mary Robert totally blanches at the thought of her Mother Superior laying with another woman.
While indulging over ice cream with her fellow sisters, Deloris hints at leaving the convent. Mary Robert’s heart drops as she fearfully probes, “You’re leaving us?” Dolores can’t bring herself to hurt Mary Robert, so she diverts, assuring her, “We’re always gonna be together.”
#SisterDeloryRobert gets kidnapped by Vince’s henchmen, and Deloris begs them to let Mary Robert go. She shoves her out of the car at a stoplight and saves her life.
The Reverend Mother finally comes clean and reveals to the sisters that Deloris was never a real nun. The only one who is completely, involuntarily overcome with emotion is Mary Robert. She wants to save Deloris’s life in return, shouting, “I don’t care who she is, we can’t sing without her!” Mary Robert begs the Reverend Mother to save Deloris – regardless of consequences or danger – completely pussy-blind.
The sisters save Deloris from peril, laughing and hugging each other in sweet salvation. But for Mary Robert, their triumph is bittersweet – she now sees how happy Deloris is living outside the convent. She knows no matter what she does, she’ll be holding Deloris back if she asks her to stay. Deloris will leave her in this hell-hole and she knows it – but she’ll be living her best life, and that’s what truly matters. If you love them, let them go…
If you’re still skeptical and don’t ship it yet, prepare to get finger-blasted with the truth.
At the final concert, the sisters belt their guts out in front of the pope himself. Mary Robert and Deloris share one, last rousing number, “I Will Follow Him.” Mary Robert pulls out all the stunts: vocal runs, vibrato, and one iconic lyric that she sings DIRECTLY TO DELORIS: “You’ll always be my true love, from now until forever.”
They smile at each other, eyes twinkling, filled with pride, joy, and a renewed faith in the church of love.
There you have it: Deloris van Cartier and Sister Mary Robert were the original OTP. In the end, Mary Robert finally found Jesus – and it was about 3-inches inside Whoopi Goldberg’s vagina.