Critics Consensus

A deft directorial debut from Antonia Bird, Priest handles its sensitive subject with care -- despite certain sanctimonious sentiments.



Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,925
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Priest Photos

Movie Info

A priest is torn between church dogma and his personal beliefs in this British drama. Father Greg (Linus Roache) is a Catholic priest who tends to a parish in Liverpool. Like his superior, Father Matthew (Tom Wilkinson), Father Greg is not dealing well with his vow of celibacy. While Matthew has been discreetly having an affair with his housekeeper, Greg is homosexual, and he occasionally slips out to gay clubs for anonymous encounters with strangers. One night, Father Greg meets a man named Graham (Robert Carlyle) at the bar; when he bumps into him on the street a few days later, he realizes that he's falling in love with him. As Father Greg struggles with his sexual and spiritual identity, he hears a confession from 14-year-old Lisa Unsworth (Christine Tremarco), who tells him that her father has been molesting her. Mr. Unsworth (Robert Pugh) confirms his daughter's allegation during confession, and he tells the priest that he will not stop his incestuous behavior. Should Father Greg violate the seal of the confessional to save Lisa from further abuse? Priest, which opened in America on Good Friday, generated considerable controversy, both with Catholic organizations (who denounced the picture) and the MPAA (the film had to be re-edited to gain an R rating for U.S. release).

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Linus Roache
as Father Greg Pilkington
Tom Wilkinson
as Father Matthew Thomas
Cathy Tyson
as Maria Kerrigan
James Ellis
as Father Ellerton
Lesley Sharp
as Mrs. Unsworth
Robert Pugh
as Mr. Unsworth
Christine Tremarco
as Lisa Unsworth
Paul Barber
as Charlie
Jimmy Coleman
as Funeral Director
Bill Dean
as Altar Boy
Billy Dean
as Altar Boy
Gilly Coman
as Ellie Molloy
Fred Pearson
as Patrick
Jimmy Gallagher
as Mick Molly
Charley Wilde
as Tommy's Child
Euan Blair
as Tommy's Child
Guiseppe Murphy
as Man in Lift
Kim Marie Johnson
as Mrs. Gobshite
Keith Cole
as Mr. Gobshite
Adrian Luty
as Jehovah's Witness
Mandy Walsh
as Guest at Wake
Stephanie Roscoe
as Guest at Wake
Ann Haydn-Edwards
as Guest at Wake
Mike Haydn
as Guest at Wake
Rupert Pearson
as Man on Skateboard
Victoria Arnold
as Girl in Confessional
Gareth Potsig
as Boy Car Thief
Ray Williams
as Boy with Stutter
Valerie Lilley
as Sister Kevin
Kevin Jones
as Boy at Beach
Michael Ananins
as Charge Sergeant
Matyelok Gibbs
as Housekeeper
John Bennett
as Father Redstone
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Critic Reviews for Priest

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for Priest

  • Oct 20, 2016
    A dark drama about the crisis of faith of a priest who is a homosexual. There are a few problems with the film: There was not a single likeable character, especially Father Thomas who is a communist hypocrite; it seemed more like an attack on Catholic church more than anything and the story was really slow. However, the acting was pretty impressive and the direction was also pretty good to make it worthwatching, even if frustrating.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2014
    A well-meaning film that touches on too many issues to be effective. Sadly, this results in a degeneration into preachiness to make its points. A good performance by Roache and a somewhat better one by Wilkinson. Barely adequate production values.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 24, 2012
    Unreal at the time, Priest still remains a very powerful film about a homosexual who tries to hide behind the veils of the priesthood and finds his humanity something truly to be wrestled with. Gripping and great.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 31, 2011
    Its a film that deals with the serious ethical dilemmas that exist in the real world application of the Catholic faith, specifically if its even possible to do so. I'll concede that it gets preachy, but for the most part its truthful and very moving.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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