Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Mature material in thoughtful, powerful Irish drama.

Movie R 2014 100 minutes
Calvary Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

thought provoking and beautiful, a grown up piece of cinema.

Brendan Gleeson is on stunning form in the story of a good priest who is told, in the confessional, that he's going to be murdered in 7 days. the clock starts ticking and Gleeson tries to figure out who the murderer is, whether to run or stay, and most importantly whether going to meet the murderer in the appointed place, to attempt to talk him out of committing a mortal sin, is sacrifice or suicide. the parishioners around Gleeson, behaving dreadfully, include Chris O'Dowd and Aiden Gillen. Gillen has a speech which stays in the mind long after the film has ended, but a prison scene with Gleeson acting opposite his real life son, steals the movie. the fact that the film grapples with some key questions of faith including Jesus sacrifice v Jesus suicide, and the accountability of the church in cases of sexual abuse, is what makes it a film for older teens; the nuanced questions it raises are maybe just too complicated for younger/mid teens. unapologetically smart, and quietly beautiful. a challenging and thought provoking film which offers no easy answer to difficult questions.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

This is a beautifully composed film centering on a great performance. Director John Michael McDonagh's previous film, The Guard, was great fun, but CALVARY -- which reunites McDonagh (brother of playwright/filmmaker Martin McDonagh) with his Guard star, Gleeson, and cinematographer, Larry Smith -- is definitely something a bit more.

The movie doesn't generate much suspense from its a simple "countdown" motif. Instead, it's mainly focused on conversations, which are so brilliantly written and so ambiguous that they manage to convey many complex, overlapping ideas. And the cinematography supports the images with nuanced use of space, temperature, and character composition; it's a very visual film, as well as a verbose one. The final, hopeful moments show the entire cast of characters; Father Lavelle has failed to reach many of them, but he did in fact get to a few, touching their hearts. The ambiguous ending is worth discussing.

Movie Details

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