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Calvary (2014)



Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 67 | Rotten: 9

Led by a brilliant performance from Brendan Gleeson, Calvary tackles weighty issues with humor, intelligence, and sensitivity.


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 2

Led by a brilliant performance from Brendan Gleeson, Calvary tackles weighty issues with humor, intelligence, and sensitivity.



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User Ratings: 7,459

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Movie Info

CALVARY's 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 (Kelly Reilly) and reach out to help members of his church with their various scurrilous moral - and often comic - problems, he feels sinister and troubling forces closing in, and begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary. (c) Fox

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January 23, 2014:
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All Critics (76) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (67) | Rotten (9)

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.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The stark, natural landscapes are among the movie's most seductive attractions, even if the characters populating them seem calculated for maximum repulsion.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Self-conscious dialogue, stiff characterizations and unimaginative filmmaking prove to be a recipe for the forgettable.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Orange County Register
Orange County Register
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It's a film of modest means and great ambition, a darkly comic drama concerned with nothing less than the place of faith, and an embattled Church, in modern life.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Calvary offers a fascinating look at contemporary attitudes toward the priesthood and Catholicism, as well as an impeccable lead performance by Brendan Gleeson and darkly sharp wit.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With his patchwork red-and-gray beard grown long and his hair draped over his ears, Gleeson resembles an ancient mammoth, and it's quickly clear that his parishioners wish he were extinct

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the Stations of the Cross in an Irish fishing village soaked in despair, drink and debauchery..."Calvary" is divine filmmaking.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

When Brendan Gleeson gets together with John Michael McDonagh, magical things happen.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Calvary, however, offers no redemption or even catharsis - at best, some talk of forgiveness - and McDonagh's crude drollery, if that's the word for it, feels forced, fake, as though anger is acceptable if delivered with a punch line.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

McDonagh explores this village of secrets with tremendous care and craftiness, and provides Gleeson with another stellar opportunity to deliver striking work.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source:

[Calvary] amounts to a Bible story more spiritually and emotionally accurate than most Bible adaptations actually put on film.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

This priest cuts through false motives, calls people on their baloney, talks to them straight, loves them despite themselves. Sort of like his Lord. No wonder they want to kill him.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Patheos

Every parishioner of Father James' a flamboyant figure of comic dysfunction, nihilism or misanthropy.

July 29, 2014 Full Review Source:

A cynically dark comedy whose turn to the grim side is both inevitable and richly rewarding.

July 29, 2014 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

One may feel dissatisfied by the 11th-hour turn toward lyrical fatalism, and mildly insulted by the presumptuous attitude it seems to choose as it sends us on our way.

July 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Calvary

an absolute masterpiece, and phenomenal follow up to the guard for mcdonagh and gleeson. despite the imminence of violence and the ever approaching storm its humor still works exactly as it is intended, and the message, although risking heavy handedness at one point at the end, punches through clearly and effectively. forgiveness is underrated.
May 26, 2014
danny d

Super Reviewer

Very original Irish drama written and directed by John Michael McDonagh will show you more realistic and honest examination of the religion and its impact in a small town with many troubled individuals. Calvary stars Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran and Isaach de Bankolé. The film was screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival where it had an enthusiastic and satisfied audience.

The story starts in confessional, where a parishioner talks to Father James Lavelle about his childhood sexual abuse by a priest. After telling the story of an abuse which started when he was a little child and was continuing for 5 years, he says he will kill James the next Sunday, because James is a good man and it would be worse for the Catholic Church than killing a bad priest. In any case the offender is now dead, and James will pay for his sins. James's daughter comes to visit after suffered a breakdown and tried to kill herself. The characters were amazing and the dialogue was simply adorable.

Brendan Gleeson gave an inspired and soulful performance but all others were perfect players in this rich character drama that's equally eloquent and despairing. It is not easy to make commercially successful film which examines religious faith, but this team had no difficulty with that task! I will recommend it to anyone who loves a film with substance, emotions and an excellent execution!
July 31, 2014
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

Faith means being hopeful even in the worst of times and it's almost poetic how John Michael McDonagh explores that same idea in a film about religious conviction.
July 16, 2014
Eddie Chung

Super Reviewer

There is no doubt that there is a unifying element that seems to persist in Irish cinema , especially in recent years; Irish films are depressing. It feels like a lot these movies attempt to follow in the grand tradition of our native land's literature in that they often tell stories of perpetual outcasts, self destructive individuals or a regressive, intellectually stunted society that leaves nothing but broken spirits. And although many of these films' quality varies, they never really hit the mark set by their illustrious predecessors . And you would think that John Michael McDonagh's 'Calvary, about a innocent priest who may may or not be murdered within a week for being just that,would be no different. In some ways, that's because it isn't. What sets "Calvary" apart from the pack is perhaps for all of its apparently bleak world view , there is an underlying humanity that feels authentic and natural.
July 30, 2014
Mark C.
mark conroy

Super Reviewer

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