Calvary - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Calvary Reviews

December 31, 2017
It's Gleeson who gives the performance of a lifetime as the priest.
September 22, 2014
The tension of Calvary is fitful at best, and much of the movie trips into silliness, but in Brendan Gleeson -- in his proud bearing and his lamenting gaze -- we see the plight of the lonely believer in a world beyond belief.
August 15, 2014
Brendan Gleeson delivers a typically towering yet warm performance in "Calvary." Too bad the movie's something of a mess.
Full Review | Original Score: C
August 14, 2014
It serves as a marvelous showcase for Gleeson, a great old-lion actor who shows, in the film's many close-ups, a quiet, weary yet unbending faith, and a face on which emotion can play like a wave on the beach.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
August 14, 2014
Writer-director John Michael McDonagh paints a rich portrait of the priestly life (and life in general) by concentrating on the details.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
August 14, 2014
Both the comedy and the violence are watered down by a dark melancholy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 8, 2014
A dark and profoundly funny tale of an institution failing its sheep and its best shepherds.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
August 8, 2014
To say Gleeson "stars" in Calvary seems inadequate. He dominates it ...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 8, 2014
"Calvary" is often wound tightest in the most unexpected places.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
August 8, 2014
[Gleeson] projects fierce intelligence, wit, gentleness, ruefulness, soulfulness.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
August 7, 2014
Gleeson is the great anchor of the piece, conveying much often without even saying a word.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 7, 2014
It doesn't confront church scandal-priestly crime; it stares into the spiritual void that has been left in its wake. What stares back is lurid, soulless and damned.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
August 7, 2014
The irony and fatalism that have driven "Calvary" forward reach an end point that, while doubtlessly dramatic, doesn't jibe with the Father James we've come to know and love.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
August 7, 2014
Gleeson brings his usual fierceness and gravity to the role, and there are fine supporting turns by Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aiden Gillen, and Dylan Moran.
August 7, 2014
Gleeson is remarkable in one of the best roles for one of the finest character actors around, who is finally, with this and McDonagh's last film, "The Guard," getting his shot at lead roles.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
August 7, 2014
I imagine most people will watch the film and merely see the village as populated by vivid eccentrics. But a closer look at these odd, bitter, hostile characters will suggest something darker at work.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
August 7, 2014
Gleeson carries the film with wonderful, natural authority. He's a little better than the movie itself, which is glib to a fault.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
August 3, 2014
I've seen so many movies, with great dialogue, that aren't about anything; here's a film on a fascinating subject, but the dialogue is terrible.
Top Critic
August 1, 2014
Calvary is bleak and corrosively funny in about equal measure.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
August 1, 2014
Calvary gives Gleeson ample opportunity to explore his talent for anchoring a movie, making it deeper and richer than the script and direction might otherwise allow.
August 1, 2014
Gleeson is a wonderful actor and he keeps a lid on the blarney. He manages to convey a lot -- fear, anger, compassion, rue -- with only the slightest of squints and frowns. But he's still the center of a cooked-up cavalcade of souls.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
August 1, 2014
Good actors like Chris O'Dowd, Moran, Gleeson, and Walsh are acting their hearts out, but they can't make these characters seem like more than puppets.
August 1, 2014
Gleeson's performance is magnificent; sharp, compassionate, bemused, never not intellectually active.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
August 1, 2014
You have a movie about faith that doesn't seem to have any in its own ability to hold our interest. But it does have Gleeson.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 31, 2014
In its steady assemblage of details over an incidental, episodic structure it accrues a building sense of moral gravity.
July 31, 2014
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
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
Self-conscious dialogue, stiff characterizations and unimaginative filmmaking prove to be a recipe for the forgettable.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
July 31, 2014
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
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 31, 2014
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
Full Review | Original Score: B-
July 31, 2014
The reliance on specific genre cliches undermines the movie's more serious intentions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
July 31, 2014
What's at stake here, in this grim and grimly comic story, is how a man of God will face his fate.
Full Review | Original Score: B
July 31, 2014
Gleeson's beautiful acting deserves a better movie.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
July 31, 2014
Twice I have left a "Calvary" screening feeling dazed and moved.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
July 30, 2014
A wicked, gimlet-eyed revelation of both Catholic dogma and Irish life today, Calvary has unflinching things to say about the people and the church that defies cliché.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 9, 2014
It's an immensely moving film, and a brave one for the way it tackles spiritual issues without irony. Run, don't walk.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
April 11, 2014
McDonagh's script is a fabulous bit of writing with the tidy structure and mythical resonance of a passion play, but idiosyncratic and funny in all of its detail.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
April 11, 2014
There is a strong whiff of Beckett-like absurdism and bleak humour in the film, which benefits from a performance of wonderfully droll dignity and bemusement from Brendan Gleeson as a priest confronting his mortality.
April 11, 2014
Certainly worth seeing ...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
April 11, 2014
Director John Michael McDonagh's extraordinary film presents deep existential torment under the guise of a parochial murder mystery.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
April 10, 2014
It presents us with a satirical image of a country which is cracked and fractured into pieces, a crazy-paving that isn't fitting together. Without the powerfully charismatic Gleeson, I suspect, the film itself wouldn't fit together.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
April 10, 2014
Calvary's gruelling central issue of abuse has been enough to quieten much criticism of the film, but in truth, most of the time it is coasting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
April 10, 2014
Calvary's meet-and-greet structure lets McDonagh tease away at the fabric of Irish society, diagnosing all manner of ills.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
April 9, 2014
Part Father Ted, part Tarantino, this is a wickedly funny black comedy, all fatalism and gallows humour, with a beating heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 26, 2014
McDonagh, for all his agility as a writer, stumbles in fleshing out the story.
Full Review | Original Score: 6.5/10
January 20, 2014
A film that is constantly commenting on itself, looking askance in the mirror and chuckling at its own presumption.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 20, 2014
Brendan Gleeson gives a performance of monumental soul in John Michael McDonagh's masterful follow-up to 'The Guard.'