Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Calvary


As a last-minute before the baby date, I let Francisco take me to the movies. (A particularly good pre-baby date because going to the movies doesn't require me to be delightful and make nice conversation: I basically just have to sit there in the very nice cool air conditioning. I mean, it's still hard to get me out of the house, especially when we have our own movie-theater-like set-up, but it's not impossible.)

We're quite fortunate to have a little independent theater two miles from our apartment, an independent theater in a lovely old building.

One description of Calvary that compared it to a murder mystery was what sold me. And Francisco and I were pretty impressed with the film overall.

The set-up is this: In the confessional one disaffected parishioner declares his intention to murder the good parish priest, to whom he's confessing, in one week's time in retribution for his abuse by a now-dead priest as a child. Throughout the film, the viewers get to know the rather dysfunctional characters in the small town, and get to see the priest's difficult decisions while pastoring them. And he is, indeed, a good priest, although with demons of his own (Francisco aptly compared it to a Graham Greene novel).

One of the things that you see the priest suffer is always being called to defend the Catholic Church as a whole and to explain the sexual abuse. The priest is never not a priest--he can never just mix and mingle into the town; he's called upon at any moment to listen to the characters' complaints and difficulties, and doesn't really have anyone with whom he can share his own (more pressing) difficulties.

Somehow, even with that set-up, the ending managed to surprise me a little. The film moved slowly, but with such good characters and dialogue that was interesting without being stiltingly philosophical (like Whit Stillman's) that it was a pleasure to watch.

1 comment:

Hevy Kevy said...

A very divisive movie. Personally, I loved it but know plenty of others that didn't. I thought about it non stop for about four days after. You should also check out "The Guard" from the same director and also starring Brendan Gleeson. It's a bit more of a broad comedy but still distinctly Irish, and has another great ending.