Calvary

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 110 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 85 out of 110
  2. Negative: 9 out of 110

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User Reviews

  1. 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
  2. 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.
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  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. Jan 10, 2015
    7
    It is rare for a film to unfold such a bold premise in the very first scene. Calvary is one of the most honest films of the year - lead by a career-best performance from Brendan Gleeson. John Michael McDonagh has crafted a very fine look at the cruelty of life and death.
  9. 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
  10. Jan 17, 2015
    9
    An emotionally stirring, resonant, and beautiful film, Calvary is one of the best films of 2014 without a shadow of a doubt. Brendan Gleeson is wondrous in the lead role, while Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Dylan Moran, and Domhnall Gleeson, are also very good in their roles. Calvary brilliantly bends genres between dark comedy, mystery, and drama, throughout with many moments causing you toAn emotionally stirring, resonant, and beautiful film, Calvary is one of the best films of 2014 without a shadow of a doubt. Brendan Gleeson is wondrous in the lead role, while Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Dylan Moran, and Domhnall Gleeson, are also very good in their roles. Calvary brilliantly bends genres between dark comedy, mystery, and drama, throughout with many moments causing you to laugh, think, and cry. The film is brilliantly directed and written by John Michael McDonagh and the cinematography is also worthy of mention as it is gorgeous, helped in large part thanks to the absolutely breathtaking scenery in the area where it was shot. Truly gorgeous stuff and the camera took advantage of all of it. A film that is essentially about the Catholic Church and the role that it and God play in the lives of different people, Calvary succeeds on the back of that great acting I mentioned, as well as how powerful it truly is. It is a film that leaves you in silence and on the brink of tears. Expand
  11. 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
  12. Jul 17, 2015
    8
    Brendan Gleeson is truly underrated and shows how great of an actor he is in 2014's Calvary. Strong characters and an unresting story make the movie a worthwhile experience.
  13. Apr 18, 2015
    7
    Now this was an odd watch for me. With really nice direction and cinematography, along with a great cast and witty dialogue this film should be a high scorer. Yet, i can't help but find this film has something missing. Gleeson's character comes across many interesting people through his story and each one adds to the film and develops the bigger idea of why people would want to kill aNow this was an odd watch for me. With really nice direction and cinematography, along with a great cast and witty dialogue this film should be a high scorer. Yet, i can't help but find this film has something missing. Gleeson's character comes across many interesting people through his story and each one adds to the film and develops the bigger idea of why people would want to kill a priest. The film concludes reasonably well but yet the film still does not feel full. It seems in a way that this dark comedy gem is trying to make too many connections at once and make almost all their characters stock characters of sorts (albeit them all being played well). So for at the moment i can't help but feel this film only should get a 7, but i do want to give it more. I think this may be a film you need to watch a few times over to fully appreciate maybe. Once i have watched it again i may adjust my score but for now i'm sticking with a 7 Expand
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
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  17. Jan 1, 2015
    8
    Gleeson represents the church or the priests in some way, and every character represents the different relations that people has with it. It has a good story, great acting talents and show some of the most beautiful places in Ireland.

    Gleeson representa a la Iglesia o a los Sacerdotes en general y cada personaje muestra la manera en que las personas se relacionan con la iglesia. Tiene
    Gleeson represents the church or the priests in some way, and every character represents the different relations that people has with it. It has a good story, great acting talents and show some of the most beautiful places in Ireland.

    Gleeson representa a la Iglesia o a los Sacerdotes en general y cada personaje muestra la manera en que las personas se relacionan con la iglesia. Tiene una buena historia, actuaciones interesantes y en sus imágenes se pueden ver algunos de los lugares más lindos de Irlanda.
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  18. May 27, 2015
    9
    Surprising film, i must say.
    Those who aren't interested in this movie because of the religion, i must say, watch it!.
    It has got a really nice script, fine visuals, good music and, most importantly, a exceptional performance by Brendan Gleeson as the protagonist, Father James.
    A really surprising film about heavy themes that ends up being not heavy to watch at all.
  19. 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
  20. Mar 13, 2015
    8
    Beautiful film about forgiveness. Calvary apparently seems a boring drama but it's the exact opposite. It has a deep and touching script, about a priest who is told he's gonna die in one week and since the beginning he knows who will be the killer but he rather keep living his life and hope that this man will change his mind eventually. What we have here is an important lesson aboutBeautiful film about forgiveness. Calvary apparently seems a boring drama but it's the exact opposite. It has a deep and touching script, about a priest who is told he's gonna die in one week and since the beginning he knows who will be the killer but he rather keep living his life and hope that this man will change his mind eventually. What we have here is an important lesson about forgiving people and moving on, always searching for the good things in our lives. Well done! Expand

Awards & Rankings

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.