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914 Ratings


Directed by John Michael McDonagh
Ireland, United Kingdom, 2014


Calvary is a blackly comedic drama about a priest tormented by his community. Father James is a good man intent on making the world a better place. When his life is threatened one day during confession, he finds he has to battle the dark forces closing in around him.

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Calvary Directed by John Michael McDonagh

Awards & Festivals

Berlin International Film Festival

2014 | Winner: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (Panorama)

Village Voice Film Poll

2014 | 2 nominations including: Best Screenplay

Indiewire Critics' Poll

2014 | Nominee: Best Screenplay

Some of the above [characters] don’t necessarily sound like well established and defined types, yet these characters play that function in a deus ex machina structure, putting them in and out of the frame and story at precise moments.
August 12, 2014
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If The Guard is an attempt at a wry, re-imagined Western, Calvary is almost a modern giallo, alive with emphatic religious imagery, beautiful vibrant colours, rapturous locations, and ominous figures obscuring the identity of a would-be killer.
August 01, 2014
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McDonagh takes considerable risks, in this day and age, crafting what’s essentially an absurdist allegory. By the film’s finale, this viewer felt that one or two of the risks didn’t entirely pay off, but my admiration for McDonagh’s brass remained intact. This is the kind of movie that galvanizes and discomfits while it’s on screen, and is terrific fodder for conversation long after its credits roll.
August 01, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • msmichel's rating of the film Calvary

    An incredible script set in small town Ireland that becomes an universal story examining faith, forgiveness, contrition and battling demons in a modern world where God has become a less tangible commodity. Gleeson is perfectly cast as a priest whose backwater seaside town seems to have become a potpourri of sin. Aptly named and to say more would be a sin. Casting is dynamite with Kelly Reilly best in show.

  • NICOLE86's rating of the film Calvary

    up there with Winter Light and Diary of a County Priest on dealing with faith and a priests own struggles with his own faith. Brendan Gleeson gives one of the best performances of the year and maybe of his career!

  • J. O.'s rating of the film Calvary

    A carefully executed film of noteworthy brilliance and saddening contemplation. Gleeson is magnificent as the gruff clergyman forced to decide between saving his hide and sacrificing himself for the sins of others. The humour is dry and black, the cinematography is stark, and the performances (though cartoon-ish at times) are good. A complex dilemma for good, faithful people - not for the cynical.

  • Michael Harbour's rating of the film Calvary

    Brendan Gleeson's performance pretty well holds the movie together despite some deep flaws including a village populated by nothing but caricatures and Father James' role not as a guide, adviser, confessor, or even as a foil or antagonist, but mostly as everyone's punching bag. There's a lot of psychological (and occasional physical) beating-up in the movie. I think what

  • ig_____or's rating of the film Calvary

    Brendan Gleeson made this priest a very wise, friendly, confident and yet vulnerable person. The supporting cast was also good - specially Kelly Reilly, as her beautiful, somewhat damaged, daughter, Fiona. The landscapes of the coast of Ireland add up to a very nice cinematography - that Virgin Mary statue burning in flames is one memorable shot. Smart approach to religion and communities nowadays.

  • HenriqueA's rating of the film Calvary

    More of a 3.5, actually. John Michael is maybe a better writer than his brother Martin, but sometimes seems amateurish with his mise en scene and the pacing/ambience is very very uneven (the score was such a pain in the ass sometimes). Still, what a great fucking script and some superb turns by almost everyone. The tone was tricky, but Any McDonagh + Gleeson is sure to be a great cinematic experience. Keep'em coming.

  • comeandsee's rating of the film Calvary

    What a beautiful, poignant, witty, funny and anger satire on the place of modern Irish society. The outright gags of The Guard are gone already, with the humour more nuanced and witty than the previous film. The performances are majestic, especially Gleeson but there is nothing left to expect from him. The film really goes for Irish Society, and writing as an Irish person really nails the sense of loss of innocence.

  • OFF_FRAME's rating of the film Calvary

    Superb writing and a weighty performance from Brendan Gleeson keep Calvary interesting in this story of faith and conviction. Some of the supports feel ill-placed and even superfluous such as the gigilo and the final montage of supports also sat at odds with the tone of what is quite a powerful film. 3.5 stars

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