March 9th, 2015


~Friday~  I read about the movie, Calvary, in my friend Hugh Hollowell's weekly newsletter in which he ponders "The Relentless Pursuit of Beauty as a prophylactic against the ugliness of the world."

Each week in the newsletter, he lists five thing that he thinks are beautiful. Learn more about the newsletter, if you're interested..

In his March 2, 2015 edition, he included this as one of the 5 things:

The most beautiful movie I have seen in the last year, bar none, was Calvary. I know—a movie with a religious name is not what you expect from me, but trust me when I tell you it’s beautiful. It’s about a man keeping his commitments as a way of retaining his humanity when the world doesn’t make sense."

The synopsis

"Father James is a small-town priest in Ireland whose Sunday confessionals suddenly include a threat to kill him in a week's time as a matter of principle. Deeply troubled and conflicted about how to respond, Father James tries to go on with his calling through that week. However, that proves impossible as he is confronted with a troubling variety of spiritual challenges from both his estranged daughter and his own parishioners. In those dispiriting struggles, Father James' life begins to fall apart as time runs out towards a confrontation that seems to crystallize his values and what he wants his life to be."

- Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

The trailer

My thoughts and observations

  • Being that I like dark films, I really liked this one.

  • Themes touched on:
    • Abuse in the Catholic church
    • Religious calling
    • Dealing with the past
    • Alcoholism
    • Domestic violence
    • Suicide
    • Murder
    • Keeping commitments
    • Earning forgiveness
    • Is "because it's the right thing to do" always a good enough reason to do something?

  • At least two reviews (from respectable sources) referred to this film as a "dark comedy." I totally get the dark part. Comedy? I don't get that. At all. Bob, do you remember laughing at all during this? Or, do you remember me laughing? (LOL. Reminds me of: "But enough about me. What do you think of me?")

  • This movie has a brilliant set-up, and it happens in the first scene. Hearing the confessor's reason for choosing this priest as his target reminded me of a "paradigm-changing thought" I had when I first read Crime and Punishment in my teens.

  • I like that both Bob and I had similar thoughts of how we thought the final (or, close-to-the-final) scene of this movie was going to play out. And we were both wrong.

  • I rarely watch movies a second time, or have the desire to do so, but I think I wouldn't mind watching this one again—especially after reading some of the reviews.

  • I gave this movie two thumbs up.

Have you seen this movie? If so, what did you think of it?