Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dear Jodie - Calvary

A priest standing by the shore, a wave crashing behind him.Dear Jodie,

I'm so glad to be back in the saddle as we say in Texas, and what a saddle!

It would be so easy to make a movie about a pedophile priest. Wouldn't take anything at all. As an old Catholic myself a priest once told me in confession that I was going to hell for masturbating while he, it was later discovered, provided private lessons to the alter boys on the ways of the sexual world. I had trouble reconciling that.

Still do.

Then again, a friend of mine told me of her very first confession, oh-so-worried how she was going to confess her biggest, most baddest, most horribleist transgression. She decided to go for it.

"Bless me father for I have sinned, I hit Sister Gabriel in the butt with spitwad."

She smiled telling me of the near uncontrollable laughter behind the screen, letting her know for good and all that priests were human beings too.

She still attends mass with her family with a healthy attitude toward priests and nuns.

Ah, all of this as preface to my impressions of "Calvary," a movie, not about a sexual predator, but a good, decent priest who endures the confession of a man threatening to kill him because he is good, and because the priests who abused him in his youth are either dead already or long gone. Vengance on the innocent. What a splash that would make with the Church! We walk the road of Calvary with Father James through his daily, mostly unsuccessful, rounds with this threat hovering over him like storm clouds.

Writer and director John Michael McDonagh put the movie in the hands of the actors, and they came through brilliantly. Brendon Gleeson shined bright as Father James with Chris O'Dowd as the perfect foil. I also enjoyed Kelly Reilly's performance as Father James's adult daughter, a living symbol of the good Father's troubled past.

Their conversation on forgiveness stays with me even as I drink my morning tea.

That the end is determined because Father James is honest regarding his personal feeling for a personal tragedy versus his detachment regarding the huge wrongs of the Church just tears at me ... and makes me think.

The final scene is perfect. Can we can tell a little about ourselves by what we think is said behind the silence?


Hard to watch, but a haunting, amazing movie nevertheless.

10 out of 10

I can't wait to read your view, Jodie!  Read Jodie's review HERE.