User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 64
  2. Negative: 5 out of 64

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Aug 5, 2014
    8
    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.
  2. Aug 4, 2014
    10
    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.
  3. Aug 9, 2014
    1
    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 mostDespite 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. Expand
  4. Aug 23, 2014
    8
    In the opening scene, a priest (Brendan Gleeson) hears a threatening confession. He spends the rest of the film interacting with members of his community (most of whom aren't very devout or very nice) and preparing for his fate. The characters are intriguing and the actors playing them turn in compelling performances. The film's sense of mystery combines with the priest's complex moralIn the opening scene, a priest (Brendan Gleeson) hears a threatening confession. He spends the rest of the film interacting with members of his community (most of whom aren't very devout or very nice) and preparing for his fate. The characters are intriguing and the actors playing them turn in compelling performances. The film's sense of mystery combines with the priest's complex moral perspective (and dashes of humor) to create a rich, absorbing experience. The outcome is so powerful that it ends in silence on screen and in the audience. Expand
  5. Aug 3, 2014
    10
    Finally a film that takes a serious look at faith and redemption, rather than either sneering or patronising people of faith. Brendan Gleeson is in fine form as Father James, a world weary priest who holds to the faith though surrounded by darkness and cynicism. The fact that a film could even have a priest who is a good man is a triumph of sorts in itself - in a world where anti-christianFinally a film that takes a serious look at faith and redemption, rather than either sneering or patronising people of faith. Brendan Gleeson is in fine form as Father James, a world weary priest who holds to the faith though surrounded by darkness and cynicism. The fact that a film could even have a priest who is a good man is a triumph of sorts in itself - in a world where anti-christian prejudice demands that all christians are portrayed as hypocrites at best or deviant perverts at worst. At the same time it confronts the disgraceful scandal of pedophilia without flinching. The film at its heart is about the search for redemption, but without succumbing to easy answers, and speaks of how each one of us must work out our salvation by confronting our own demons. Best film I have seen this year. Expand
  6. Sep 3, 2014
    7
    In the opening scene, a man confesses to a priest that he will kill him next Sunday. As the priest is getting his matters together in one week, the audience gets to know more about him, his mass, and his town.

    In Calvary, all characters are troubled. The priest have had his midlife crisis which led him choose the path priesthood. His daughter is suicidal, depressed, and feels abandoned
    In the opening scene, a man confesses to a priest that he will kill him next Sunday. As the priest is getting his matters together in one week, the audience gets to know more about him, his mass, and his town.

    In Calvary, all characters are troubled. The priest have had his midlife crisis which led him choose the path priesthood. His daughter is suicidal, depressed, and feels abandoned by his parents. The sack's marriage is in a free fall. The young beauty in the town is becoming uncontrollably promiscuous, the banker is devoid of emotions for his family and friends, the young boy has violent thoughts.

    The only untroubled character is the young widow even though she has faced a calamity recently. She knows how to cope, move on, and live. Her faith is genuine and authentic, even more so than the priest. Unlike the priest, she did not turn to God for help after she had a crisis. She believes genuinely and wholeheartedly, which makes her unbreakable and unshakable.

    Everything in this movie is set up correctly, introduced at a proper time, and adds to the movie in a later time. His dog, his daughter, the local bar, the church, etc. Each one unveils a crucial point about one of the characters and keeps the audience engaged.

    Calvary is not just a movie about a priest who may die in a week. It is more a movie about the unfairness of life and randomness of death. All the touched themes in Calvary make it a movie worth watching.
    Expand
  7. Aug 3, 2014
    7
    "Calvary" stars Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd in this strange film both written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, At the outset let me say that I am a huge Brendan Gleeson fan and appreciate and respect almost everything in which I’ve ever seen him perform. He did not disappoint me in this film but, like watching a race car unable to go more than 15 mph, Mr. Gleeson’s character is"Calvary" stars Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd in this strange film both written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, At the outset let me say that I am a huge Brendan Gleeson fan and appreciate and respect almost everything in which I’ve ever seen him perform. He did not disappoint me in this film but, like watching a race car unable to go more than 15 mph, Mr. Gleeson’s character is locked into a script that is lacking in both credibility and common sense. Also, either cut from the original film or the result of just poor writing , or both, there are many unexplained scene and location changes that befuddle the viewer as well as pose unanswered questions regarding significant events that take place in the movie. Throughout the film the viewer is put into a dry, slow and melancholy mood as one searches for the good film that is somewhere within the one that was actually released. I give the film a 7 with both kudos and regrets to Mr. Gleeson for becoming enmeshed in this project. Expand
  8. Sep 3, 2014
    6
    Painfully slow but still riveting dialogue and a complex plot. Acting was good, direction unusual. The story line was difficult to understand but that is my fault, not the writer. I enjoyed the film but not sure what I watched.
  9. Aug 11, 2014
    8
    A few days of life of a Catholic priest in a small Irish town.
    I have no idea who would classify this movie as a comedy. It is a very serious (if not depressing) drama.

    Outstanding performance of a leading actor, Brendan Gleeson who plays Father James. Oscar caliber.
  10. Aug 25, 2014
    10
    This film which I imagine will be controversial is a power house. It does not leave you and you want to talk about it with other people. It tells of a priest in an Irish village who is the target of hatred from his neighbors because of the scandals that have dogged the church recently. The fierceness of this hatred against a man who is quite clearly innocent may strike some asThis film which I imagine will be controversial is a power house. It does not leave you and you want to talk about it with other people. It tells of a priest in an Irish village who is the target of hatred from his neighbors because of the scandals that have dogged the church recently. The fierceness of this hatred against a man who is quite clearly innocent may strike some as improbable, but the film is not asking for the credibility a naturalistic film would. This is a fable with modern Ireland a calvary, and the wrongly targeted priest a type of Christ. It is moving, well shot, directed, and acted, especially by Brendan Gleeson. It should be seen. Expand
  11. Aug 19, 2014
    4
    “Calvary” opens with a man in the confessional booth telling the priest that he had been abused for 5 years when a child by a priest and since he is dead he will kill the priest he is talking to now as killing a bad priest would not make as strong a statement as killing an innocent one. The confessor tells the priest that he will give him a week, until next Sunday, to get his house in“Calvary” opens with a man in the confessional booth telling the priest that he had been abused for 5 years when a child by a priest and since he is dead he will kill the priest he is talking to now as killing a bad priest would not make as strong a statement as killing an innocent one. The confessor tells the priest that he will give him a week, until next Sunday, to get his house in order before he kills him.

    As we meet each villager, and watch their reaction to and with the priest, we soon forget about the killing and who may have said the confession and issued the threat except for each day of the week appearing on the screen.

    Father James, played by Brendan Gleeson, joined the priesthood after his wife died and his adult daughter Fiona , played by Kelly Reilly, feels he left her behind. As he makes his parish rounds we get to meet citizens of the town, some who could have been the confessor. There is the butcher, Chris O’Dowd, who’s wife, Oria O’Rourke. has encounters with the immigrant lover Isaach De Bankole. We enter the home of the police inspector, Gary Lydon, who is in the middle of having sex with a male prostitute, Owen Sharpe. We meet an Atheist doctor, Aidan Gillen, and an extremely wealthy man, Dylan Moran, who thinks nothing of urinating on a million dollar painting he has bought. Along with these citizens we also meet a younger priest, David Wilmot, the Bishop David McSavage, a French woman, Marie-Josee Croze, who just lost her husband and an American writer M. Emmet Walsh. Last, but certainly not least, there is a very moving scene between Gleeson and a cannibalistic murderer,played by his son Domhnall Gleeson.

    There is a lot of humor in the exchanges between the priest and those who are challenging his convictions and those of the Catholic church, but as one tells him. “You are just too sharp for this parish,” which turns out to be the truth.

    The screenplay by John Michael McDonagh, who also directed, goes into faith, forgiveness and the many weaknesses of man, and woman, without, obviously, picking sides. He has also filmed the picture in the county Sligo which shows off the lush greens of Ireland along with the cliffs and coasts surrounding it.

    Each cast member gets a scene to stand out and they meet the challenge but it is Brendan Gleeson and Kelly Reilly, who intrigued me in the TV series “Black Box”, that command your attention during the whole film.

    “Calvary” is getting 5 star reviews but I left thinking that maybe if I was Irish or Catholic or a priest, a murderer or a sinner I might have liked it better. Being a sinner I did appreciate much of the dialogue and as a movie lover I certainly admired the acting but the bottom line is that I can’t recommend the film.

    By the way there are two very violent scenes and the last 2 minutes of the film, if I understood it correctly, was a stunner.
    Expand
  12. Aug 1, 2014
    6
    There is a lot to like and admire in 'Calvary', not least a compelling opening demonstrating Brendan Gleeson's skill as an actor, and a strong ending with a powerful final moment. These two stand out scenes book end a film which, whilst containing great ensemble acting and intelligent writing, is to loosely directed to be totally successful. There is no real narrative drive beyond itsThere is a lot to like and admire in 'Calvary', not least a compelling opening demonstrating Brendan Gleeson's skill as an actor, and a strong ending with a powerful final moment. These two stand out scenes book end a film which, whilst containing great ensemble acting and intelligent writing, is to loosely directed to be totally successful. There is no real narrative drive beyond its almost inevitable conclusion. Gleeson is superb as the very human priest under threat of being murdered by a member of his own community. Living with this knowledge and battling his own demons he still carries on with the day to day effort of positively influencing the disparate bunch of characters he encounters on a daily basis. The screenplay, which takes place over the course of a week, examines the differing views on the church; from its hypocrisies, the cynicism of the non believers, to the almost obsessive nature of the converted. It is all served up with a delicious dose of black humour (I love the line ' Friends are enemies you've not made yet') which successfully makes its points without trivialising the serious nature of the film generally.
    It certainly holds the attention and can also boast a fine supporting cast from which Chris O'Dowd stands out as the local butcher.
    Expand
  13. Nov 9, 2014
    10
    Absolutely phenomenal. This film had me speechless. Brendan Gleeson and Chris O'Dowd are both on their game, and the directorial style is very clean and punctuated. What had me the most, however, was the powerful screenplay. It argues for and against the many complex arguments that encircle the Catholic church without being too safe or too proselytizing, making profound statements onAbsolutely phenomenal. This film had me speechless. Brendan Gleeson and Chris O'Dowd are both on their game, and the directorial style is very clean and punctuated. What had me the most, however, was the powerful screenplay. It argues for and against the many complex arguments that encircle the Catholic church without being too safe or too proselytizing, making profound statements on society, religion, and life as a whole – and sneaking in further commentary on art, wealth, medicine, relationships, and everything else that concerns the human experience. A heart stirring score by Patrick Cassidy wraps this gem of a film with a bow on top. A must see for everyone. Expand
  14. Oct 24, 2014
    5
    Too wordy, too smart for its own good, populated by caricatures and self-indulgent. Waste of a good cast and one of the most unsettling opening lines ever,
  15. Sep 7, 2014
    5
    i think this movie had alot of potential to be spectacular. it seemed more like a tv movie to me, some scenes and characters felt out of place and disconnected. the music and cinematography did not draw me in.
  16. Oct 25, 2014
    8
    This exploration of rural Catholicism in post-abuse scandal Ireland is exceptionally well filmed and performed by a flawless cast, though the story is probably more impactful for those are already familiar with the backdrop in question.
  17. Sep 21, 2014
    10
    This was extremely well done. The visuals, the script, the music, the pace and the acting were all top notch. I would not say it was hilarious, but it had me chuckle at the witty lines throughout. My enjoyment of it came primarily just because it was such a high quality product, with several parallel ideas working well together. Very polished yet relaxed and not forced somehow. TheThis was extremely well done. The visuals, the script, the music, the pace and the acting were all top notch. I would not say it was hilarious, but it had me chuckle at the witty lines throughout. My enjoyment of it came primarily just because it was such a high quality product, with several parallel ideas working well together. Very polished yet relaxed and not forced somehow. The audience is not forced to strain to understand obscure references or tortured with overly complex plot lines, but the ideas were deep and could elicit great conversation afterwards in any group of watchers. Even though it uses what you might think of as hackneyed vehicles such as the "good priest" and the "bitter atheist" to convey its ideas, it does so incredibly deftly and I was left just admiring the result. Surely better than the incredibly over-rated Boyhood, which I also enjoyed but which was not nearly as well done as this. I want to give this a 9 but I would say 9.5 because even while it had a few shortfall moments that had me feeling disappointed, they were rescued immediately by the pacing and the next good idea in the script. Expand
  18. Sep 6, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This was an interesting movie. It is basically seven days of a priest, who is told that he is a good person (by a person who says he will kill him). It is a mystery in a way, with an ending that is puzzling. You do not need to be religious to enjoy this "Who is it?" movie. There are many characters, and any one of them could be the one who wants him dead.

    The daughter says she tried to kill herself. The movie also gave the impression that her marriage was not a good one. However, the ending for me was a real puzzler. In my opinion, I think she was the master mind and manipulator behind her father's killing. I think that she convinced and manipulated her husband into kill her father. Would love to know if you think this to be true or not.
    Expand
  19. Sep 17, 2014
    0
    Full of failed metaphors and a "morale" that dates back before the Age of Enlightenment, this "Come Visit Ireland"-Advertisement is about as "funny" as "Schindler's List".
    Most of the characters are simply blunt caricatures of the same cynical archetype, while the message of the movie is a simple "without faith in the catholic church, all goes to hell". Yes, the lead actor does indeed
    Full of failed metaphors and a "morale" that dates back before the Age of Enlightenment, this "Come Visit Ireland"-Advertisement is about as "funny" as "Schindler's List".
    Most of the characters are simply blunt caricatures of the same cynical archetype, while the message of the movie is a simple "without faith in the catholic church, all goes to hell". Yes, the lead actor does indeed perform amazingly well, but he cannot make up for the terribly poor story and the failed attempts of modern day parallels to a passing through Gethsemane.
    The gruesome and forcibly deliberate end has about the meaning and depth of the summed-up "diligence and wisdom" Kim Bauer in the second Season of "24".

    My only conclusion to the high ratings of other critics is, that they are an attempt to give some meaning and over-interpretation to what they witnessed - and to avoid facing the fact, that they have just suffered the irreversible theft of 90 Minutes of precious life time.
    Expand
  20. Dec 6, 2014
    7
    The first scene is shocking and leaves you with the desire of just keep watching the movie fully attentive. From there, the plot gets built slowly but in depth with many interesting characters. I'm an atheist and I liked very much the film's meaning because it doesn't try to deliver a religious message in a direct way. In fact, from my point of view the main message it's not religious,The first scene is shocking and leaves you with the desire of just keep watching the movie fully attentive. From there, the plot gets built slowly but in depth with many interesting characters. I'm an atheist and I liked very much the film's meaning because it doesn't try to deliver a religious message in a direct way. In fact, from my point of view the main message it's not religious, it's a social critique for prejudice and modern life vices. Expand
Metascore
77

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: Steve Persall
    Aug 20, 2014
    58
    Calvary becomes a lurid Agatha Christie yarn with something important to say about the church and Ireland that McDonagh can't fully articulate. Pulp keeps getting in the way.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 15, 2014
    60
    Calvary is most assuredly not a comedy. It is a weighty, powerful drama -- albeit one with comic moments -- that dabbles in weighty, powerful themes.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 14, 2014
    75
    Gleeson is great as the troubled, conscientious priest, but until an abruptly shocking finale, his fatalism turns the ticking clock into a congested hourglass.