Parents' Guide to

The Secret Scripture

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Irish drama based on book has some sex and violence.

Movie PG-13 2017 108 minutes
The Secret Scripture Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 2+

Based on 1 parent review

age 2+

Powerful story about an independent and courageous young womant

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

With its opening line of, "My name is Rose and I didn't kill my child," this Irish drama sets up a compelling mystery. Unfortunately this big build-up fails to deliver on its promise, with The Secret Scripture proving to be an albeit well meaning, but unremarkable plod down memory lane for its lead character, Rose (played by Redgrave in the present and Mara during the 1940s sequences). Adapted from an award-winning novel that no doubt gave the time and space for its characters to breathe, the movie fails to give any emotional weight to those on screen. This means that when the big moments come along, their contrivances are both predictable, unbelievable, and sometimes bafflingly amusing.

With no investment in the characters, at its best we're watching great actors do their thing, with Mara, Redgrave, and Bana given time to shine in spite of the hokey material. That's not the case elsewhere though, with some key performances giving a purely televisual quality to the movie, hobbling it further. Playing against Hollywood heavyweight Mara, the brooding, smouldering Theo James as Father Gaunt can't keep up and it veers into soap opera territory. The subject matter of the demonization and mistreatment of women and mental health patients is a worthy one. It's just mangled by an odd script adapted from a flawed fairy tale story that asks a lot of the viewer without giving much back.

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