The Secret Scripture (2017)



Critic Consensus: The Secret Scripture has acclaimed source material and a well-chosen cast in its corner, but despite its stars' valiant efforts, this adaptation was better left on the page.


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Movie Info

A psychiatrist (Eric Bana) examines Roseanne McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave), an elderly Irishwoman living in a mental institution, and learns more about her past in the process. Rooney Mara plays McNulty as a young woman, in flashbacks that detail her love triangle with a fighter pilot (Jack Reynor) and a priest (Theo James). Directed by Jim Sheridan, The Secret Scripture is based on the novel of the same name by Sebastian Barry.

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Jack Reynor
as Michael
Eric Bana
as Dr. William Grene
Theo James
as Father Gaunt
Aidan Turner
as Jack Conroy

News & Interviews for The Secret Scripture

Critic Reviews for The Secret Scripture

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (4)

Goes from a fairly forgettable romantic drama into a full-tilt fiasco.

May 15, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Disjointed and disinterested in entertaining any and all prospective viewers, the overlong slab of melodrama is one of the most vanilla experiences at the movies in quite some time.

Sep 13, 2016 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It doesn't take too long for Jim Sheridan's period romance "The Secret Scripture" to contort itself into a befuddlingly bungled mess. But at the outset, it seems to have everything going for it.

Sep 11, 2016 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Young Rose, initially feisty, becomes an unknowable non-entity. We never truly understand her and Mara quickly becomes visibly bored.

Sep 11, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

In even the smallest expressions of this freedom, whether it's a rare grin from Mara or Redgrave playing a few bars of "Moonlight Sonata," "The Secret Scripture" soars.

Nov 1, 2018 | Full Review…

On a positive note, Rooney Mara is a very talented actress and is as captivating as ever in the film - Bana and Redgrave also do their best with the material, but the strong cast is not enough to rescue this dud of an adaptation from Sheridan.

Mar 23, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Secret Scripture


A depiction of the cruelty dealt to a young woman by the religious hierarchy in 20th century Ireland, this screenplay contained too much romanticism to be a thorough indictment of such practices, but the mighty performance of Vanessa Redgrave pushes the excuses to the sidelines. The message is sympathy for the woman Rose, though the film wanted to reconcile the two. Redgrave is fearless, every moment is considered, overflowing with significance. She challenges the reality - including the film's generosity to the church. Only an actor of Redgrave's power could do it. The film is a lesson in the differences between the acting of Redgrave, and the requirements of modern stardom, where the lead actor may often have to be less the true focus than a neutral point around whom the production revolves. This is a deeply touching story, but not as savagely true as say The Magdalen Sisters. Some in the audience may have to keep deciding whose side they are on: it is a power struggle between Redgrave's lead and the production, which she wins - just. An opportunity to watch Redgrave at her brave and fiery best, driving home against the odds the point that what happened to Rose was not, and never would be, all right.

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