Brendan Gleeson as Father James Lavelle

Brendan Gleeson as Father James Lavelle

Priest searches for faith in Calvary

Calvary, starring Brendan Gleeson, is the next of the Vernon Film Society’s fall offerings.

Calvary, showing Monday at the Towne Cinema, is the next of the Vernon Film Society’s fall offerings.

Set in a sleepy coastal village in Ireland, the film focuses on local parish priest Father James (Brendan Gleeson, star of The Guard and The Grand Seduction) who, after receiving a death threat from one of his parishioners during confession, spends what he believes to be the last week of his life pondering whether or not he has made any difference to the community.

Although Father James apparently knows the identity of his would-be murderer, he is more concerned about the struggling souls around him than he is with his own fate.

One by one, the assorted villagers (and potential suspects) are given a chance to tell their variously unhappy stories. At the same time, he is visited by his troubled daughter, the result of his tragic marriage before he joined the priesthood.  In each encounter, the benevolent priest argues for the value of the church – and of faith in general – in a modern society increasingly skeptical of this seemingly archaic institution.

Featuring lively performances, spectacular scenery, and crackling dialogue, Calvary offers a contemplative portrait of faith and guilt.  Filled with fierce gallows humour and touching compassion, it’s a must-see for believers and agnostics alike.

“Grounded by a performance of monumental soul from Gleeson as a tough-minded Irish priest marked for death by one of his parishioners, the film offers a mordantly funny survey of small-town iniquity that morphs, almost perceptibly, into a deeply felt lament for a fallen world,” said reviewer Justin Chang of Variety.

Calvary screens Monday, Oct. 6 at the Towne Cinema at the regular times of 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available one week in advance at the Towne and the Bean Scene for $7. Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a member of the Vernon Film Society to attend.