(2014)

Critic Reviews

77

Metascore

Based on 42 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Grounded by a performance of monumental soul from Gleeson as a tough-minded Irish priest marked for death by one of his parishioners, the film offers a mordantly funny survey of small-town iniquity that morphs, almost imperceptibly, into a deeply felt lament for a fallen world.
100
Empire
On the strength of only two films, McDonagh and Gleeson are a director/star team on a par with Ford/Wayne, Fellini/Mastroianni or Scorsese/De Niro. Calvary is gripping, moving, funny and troubling, down to an uncompromising yet uncynical finish.
100
Anchored by a truly sensational performance from Gleeson, this unexpected blend of passion play, detective story, rural comedy and serious inquiry into faith is destined for classic status.
91
The Playlist
Calvary may not be for all audiences, with its pitch-black heart and sober existentialism not exactly commercial stuff, but its unwavering commitment to the intelligent thorniness of its themes, and the masterful control McDonagh exerts over the shifts in tone are worth cherishing, bringing it soaring close to something divine.
83
Even as it delivers an emotional wallop, not every moment of "Calvary" goes down smoothly, as comedic scenes transition somewhat abruptly to tragic moments and the final reveal never reaches the heights of its Hitchockian inspirations.
80
The Guardian
Calvary boasts a sharp sense of place and a deep love of language. It's puckish and playful, mercurial and clever, rattling with gallows laughter as it paints a portrait of an Irish community that is at once intimate and alienated.
80
[A] wickedly funny black comedy, all fatalism and gallows humour, with both a beating heart and an inquiring mind lingering beneath its tough-guy bluster.
65
The film has much more talking than acting, so McDonagh is wise to give it all the zest he can muster... But McDonagh, for all his agility as a writer, stumbles in fleshing out the story.
60
By interchanging bawdy gaiety and a ponderous attitude to emphasise the film's spiritual message, Calvary feels extremely disjointed, struggling to balance its dualistic tone on top of its oversized ensemble cast.
60
For all the film’s merits, the suspicion persists that McDonagh’s a little too pleased with his own fulminating thesis. Time and again the writing is showing off for effect, delivering a fire-and-brimstone sermon with cocky swagger.

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