Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

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  • Summary: Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is a good priest who is faced with sinister and troubling circumstances brought about by a mysterious member of his parish. Although he continues to comfort his own fragile daughter (Kely Reilly) and reach out to help members of his church with their various scurrilous moral—and often comic—problems, he feels sinister forces closing in, and begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary. Expand
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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Josh Kupecki
    Aug 13, 2014
    With Calvary, John Michael McDonagh (who wrote and directed "The Guard" and is the brother of Martin “In Bruges” McDonagh) has crafted a darkly hilarious and deeply ruminative update on the passion play.
  5. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 31, 2014
    Some of Calvary is uncomfortably bleak... But writer-director John Michael McDonagh—brother of the English playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)—has an ear for wry humor, providing his characters with a steady supply of acerbic wit.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 1, 2014
    Gleeson is a wonderful actor and he keeps a lid on the blarney. He manages to convey a lot – fear, anger, compassion, rue – with only the slightest of squints and frowns. But he’s still the center of a cooked-up cavalcade of souls.
  7. 40
    Those shots are in contrast to those landscapes, which are craggy, primordial. It’s meant to be a haunting combination, and I have colleagues who’ve found it just that, who came out of the movie ashen, devastated. But I found it bludgeoning — I think it gives new meaning to the phrase hammer of God.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. 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. Expand
  2. Aug 25, 2014
    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 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
  3. Aug 3, 2014
    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-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
  4. Aug 3, 2014
    "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
  5. Sep 3, 2014
    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.
  6. Sep 3, 2014
    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. Expand
  7. 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. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews



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