Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 8, 2014
    Calvary is also just jaw-droppingly beautiful. McDonagh and cinematographer Larry Smith capture the four-seasons-in-one-day miracle that is Ireland, with its jagged stonescapes, roiling surf, fairie towns, and bracing skies.
  2. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 7, 2014
    One of the smartest and most impassioned films about Christianity in recent memory, though to say that might give the wrong impression. In tone and strategy, the film is low-key and subtle; and the story can be appreciated both for its surface qualities and its deeper intentions.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Jul 31, 2014
    The film is then not so much a meditation but a reverie, a swirl of emotions and ideas, managing to be both calmly reflective and skittishly anxious at the same time. Calvary is a serious comedy, a funny drama, a ruminative film about life and a lively film about death.
  4. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Jul 31, 2014
    Visually, intellectually and emotionally, McDonagh’s film is one to savor.
  5. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jul 30, 2014
    Twice I have left a Calvary screening feeling dazed and moved.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew Lowry
    May 16, 2014
    Anchored by a truly sensational performance from Gleeson, this unexpected blend of passion play, detective story, rural comedy and serious inquiry into faith is destined for classic status.
  7. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Apr 7, 2014
    On the strength of only two films, McDonagh and Gleeson are a director/star team on a par with Ford/Wayne, Fellini/Mastroianni or Scorsese/De Niro. Calvary is gripping, moving, funny and troubling, down to an uncompromising yet uncynical finish.
  8. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jan 24, 2014
    Grounded by a performance of monumental soul from Gleeson as a tough-minded Irish priest marked for death by one of his parishioners, the film offers a mordantly funny survey of small-town iniquity that morphs, almost imperceptibly, into a deeply felt lament for a fallen world.
  9. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Jan 24, 2014
    Calvary may not be for all audiences, with its pitch-black heart and sober existentialism not exactly commercial stuff, but its unwavering commitment to the intelligent thorniness of its themes, and the masterful control McDonagh exerts over the shifts in tone are worth cherishing, bringing it soaring close to something divine.
  10. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Aug 1, 2014
    Calvary is bleak and corrosively funny in about equal measure, with the rugged grey/green landscape suiting the harshness of the village's attitudes about the Church, and repentance, and the worth of good works.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 31, 2014
    McDonagh walks a hazardous tightrope from scene to scene, from amiable comedy to black-hearted farce to heartbreaking tragedy, often trying to strike all those notes within seconds. It doesn’t all work equally well, but the cumulative effect is powerful.
  12. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Jul 29, 2014
    Gleeson is one of the finest actors we have, and in casting him as the lead, McDonagh stacks the deck so that regardless of our own religious reservations, we're forced to care about Father James as a man.
  13. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Aug 1, 2014
    This is the kind of movie that galvanizes and discomfits while it’s on screen, and is terrific fodder for conversation long after its credits roll. Even if you are neither Catholic nor Irish, this Calvary will in no way be a useless sacrifice of your moviegoing time.
  14. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 31, 2014
    Calvary is also profoundly compelling for the light it shines on how public attitudes have changed toward the clergy in the wake of the abusive-priests scandal.
  15. 88
    Calvary is a compact and biting tale of a righteous man being tested by his faith, his peers and his predicament.
  16. Reviewed by: Katherine Kilkenny
    Jan 24, 2014
    Even as it delivers an emotional wallop, not every moment of "Calvary" goes down smoothly, as comedic scenes transition somewhat abruptly to tragic moments and the final reveal never reaches the heights of its Hitchockian inspirations.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17
  1. Aug 5, 2014
    Surely one of the best films of the year. Brendan Gleeson's bittersweet look at the role of the Catholic Church in the lives of modern people is darkly emotional, hilarious and fantastically fascinating. Full Review »
  2. Aug 4, 2014
    This is my favourite movie of the year. Brilliant in all respects - funny, moving, thought provoking. One of those movies that make you sit there during the end credits simply trying to take it all in. Gleason is great and really needs to start getting the recognition he deserves. Full Review »
  3. Aug 9, 2014
    Despite a capable lead performance and beautiful location shots, this has got to be one of the worst new movies I have seen in a very, very long time. Besides its wholly predictable premise (which is easy to figure out even without spoilers), the picture features a cast of largely reprehensible characters (most of them depicted as grossly overwritten caricatures) spouting some of the most ridiculous dialogue I've ever heard come out of actors' mouths. In the spirit of charity, though, all I can say is forgive the filmmakers, for they clearly know not what they do. Full Review »