Friday, March 6, 2015

Movie Review: Calvary (2014)

Calvary (2014) written and directed by John Michael McDonough

A priest in a small Irish coastal town is hearing confessions when a man comes in and says that he will kill the priest in a week. The man was sexually abused for years as a child by a priest and he wants to make a statement. The priest who abused him is dead but if he killed an innocent priest, that would make a statement. Father James has a week to put his life in order before it ends.

One of the first things he does is report in to his bishop, who encourages him just to report it to the police and get some protection since the guy clearly wasn't confessing (so no seal of confession). Fr. James isn't 100% sure the threat is real (or at least that is what he tells the bishop) or that it is the best way to handle the situation. He goes about his life almost like nothing is about to happen. He ministers to his flock who are often ambivalent or hostile to him even though he is a good man and a good priest (which is probably why he runs afoul of the broken, sinful people who are not repentant). His semi-estranged daughter comes to visit him. She's just tried to commit suicide and is dealing with the grief over losing her mother and the seeming loss of her father to the priesthood after her mom's death. Fr. James has a lot of things to deal with in one week.

Forgiveness is a big theme for this movie, but not in a heavy-handed way. Many different characters deal with wrongs done to them in many different ways. Some ignore the offense or write it off as the cost of living with others. Others want a recompense but do not know how or what to ask for. Answers to tough situations are hard to come by. Father James has the honesty to admit he doesn't always have the answers. He also has the love to recognize that people need answers and reconciliation even if they don't want to admit it to him or themselves. That's why he goes through this personal Calvary, why he goes to the beach to meet the man who wants to kill him.  The movie is very powerful and worth watching.

For a much deeper and insightful discussion of the movie, check out A Good Story is Hard to Find Episode 101.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that you liked it ... and that you are still reading and watching along with us! :-)