The Secret Scripture (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

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 (36) | Top Critics (3)

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.

September 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.

September 11, 2016 | Full Review…

Fine, lush-looking, understated 2016 wartime drama from veteran Jim Sheridan...Perfect arthouse fare, this.

December 12, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

This is a honourable film that has hits and misses. Watch it for the performances, particularly Redgrave's. Its most telling line is this: Bravery in the face of the enemy

December 8, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The Secret Scripture is a highly streamlined adaptation of Sebastian Barry's 2008 Man Booker finalist.

December 7, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | 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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