The Secret Scripture (2016) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
19 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Beautifully Acted and Directed
vanmag8515 September 2016
Just caught the Gala premiere at TIFF and was stunned by this film.

Vanessa Redgrave and Rooney Mara play older and younger versions of Rose Clear, a woman out of place and out of mind in WWII Ireland. The film is based on the novel of the same name.

The acting in the film is beautiful. Director Jim Sheridan called VR a legend in his introduction to the film and the crowd gave her a standing O at the end. Mara does the incredible job of matching her beat for beat. Theo James (who I've only ever seen in the getting- worse-by-the-minute Divergent series) is downright terrifying as the priest who becomes obsessed with Rose. The photography and direction are top notch as well, and take full advantage of Ireland's natural beauty.

Only criticism is that the plot may be hard to follow if one isn't familiar with the details of Irish/British history. It also becomes a bit predictable, but by the time revelations are made the tears are already flowing so all is forgiven. Otherwise, the story weaves really nicely through the intricacies of being a single woman in that particular time and place. The material is heavy, and rightly so. It's interesting to note the contrast between the way women are treated in the film and the way the plot is so female driven and the two female leads are clearly so respected and credited by their director.

Between this, Una and Lion I wouldn't be surprised to see multiple Oscar nods for Mara.
33 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
luminary88810 September 2017
I'm not going to explain the story, that has been done in other reviews. What I do want to say is this

The end of this movie brought tears to my eyes, and literally almost broke me, because I have experienced something similar. No, I didn't live in a mental institution all my life, but the pain and heartache is the same, it's excruciating, at the loss of a lover, a family member (including pets), and especially the loss of your child. At the same time the movie brought pain, it also brought healing.

Many movies can be confusing at first, and some stay that way until the very end. This was not confusing at all, you just needed to follow along, and know that eventually that everything will be clear and fit into place.

An awesome movie, exceptional acting, and the music is beautiful, especially the end title "The Cry Inside," written by Brian Byrne and performed by Kelly Clarkson. It was absolutely gorgeous, a masterpiece. Listening to it, and paying attention to the lyrics, is what finally broke me...I sobbed

"The Cry Inside" never goes away. Rose Kennedy explained it as follows ~

"It has been said, 'time heals all wounds,' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone."
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
'There's a sickness in people that stops them seeing the truth.'
gradyharp17 October 2017
Sebastian Barry's brilliant novel SECRET SCRIPTURE has been transformed into an eloquent touching film Johnny Ferguson and Director Jim Sheridan. With moody cinematography by Mikhail Krichman and a musical score by Brian Byrne (with a lot of help from Beethoven) and a perfect cast of actors, this radiantly beautiful film should satisfy a large audience – those who love period pieces, Ireland, sweet romance, ad twists of plot.

Roseanne McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave) must vacate the soon-to-be demolished mental institution in Roscommon, Ireland that she's called home for over 50 years. The hospital's psychiatrist, Dr. William Grene (Eric Bana) is called in to assess her condition. He finds himself intrigued by Roseanne's seemingly inscrutable rituals and tics, and her fierce attachment to her Bible, which she has over the decades transformed into a palimpsest of scripture, drawings, and cryptic diary entries. As Grene delves deeper into Roseanne's past, we see her as the young woman Rose (Rooney Mara), whose charisma proves seductive. We learn that she moved to Sligo to work in her aunt's café, fell in love with a dashing fighter pilot Michael McNulty (Jack Reynor), and that a local priest Father Gaunt (Theo James) fell tragically in love with her. The elderly Lady Rose is institutionalized because it was rumored that she murdered her only child at childbirth. Dr Grene and a nurse (Susan Lynch) are supportive of Lady Rose as the story unfolds in the most sensitive manner.

There is much to be praised in this film – the manner in which the conflict between the Irish and the British altered personal lives and relationships, the horrors of the early 20th century insane asylums, the struggle Catholics priests at times endure with their celibacy vows, and the beauty of Ireland – but the cast is so fine that they shine with this material. This is a very fine film.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great movie
Linda Bailey12 June 2017
What a great movie.

If you liked The Notebook and know a bit about the conflict between the Republic of Ireland and Britain, it's a must see.

Terrific cast - Vanessa Redgrave (Call the Midwife), Eric Bana, Theo James (Divergent), Aidan Turner (Poldark), Rooney Mara (Lion), Adrian Dunbar (Line Of Duty), Jack Reynor - very fitting music and very emotional.

There were a couple of times when I wished documents had stayed on the screen slightly longer so that I could have read the contents but that won't be a problem when the Blu-ray and DVD come out, which I'll definitely be adding to my collection.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A shocking tale of abuse
Gordon-119 October 2017
This film tells the story of a psychiatrist in Ireland, who is sent to a hospital by the Church to evaluate a woman who has been locked up in a psychiatric hospital for the past 40 years.

"The Secret Scripture" begins very slowly, and for a while I thought it wanted to be "The Notebook". It turned out not to be the case, as the plot unfolded to become a shocking story of power abuse. How the perpetrator was capable of doing such inhuman things was simply beyond me. How he lived with his conscience for 40 years was shocking as well. I managed to guess the ending before the obvious clues were given, but seeing such a satisfactory ending drove me to tears. It was really touching to see the ending, even though justice arrived in an untimely manner.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Really worth watching.
bullysbar-659601 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I found this film to be all that i hoped it would be. It was thought provoking, with brilliant acting from all the main characters. People today will find it hard to understand that these things really could, and did happen, because it took place in an era of "Non Politically Correctness". Although I agree that it does stray somewhat from the Books original story-line, it does not detract in anyway what the Author was trying to convey. Well done to a film that uses no Mirrors or Special Effects, but relies solely on a Good Author and an excellent cast.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Secret Scripture (2016)
rockman1828 June 2017
I didn't really know about this film but of course I'll watch anything with Rooney Mara in it no matter what. I absolutely love her, think she's still underrated and think she's absolutely gorgeous. You do have to be cautious about directors whose work hasn't really resonated well in the past so I wasn't expecting something truly great from Jim Sheridan. The minimum of my requirements was to enjoy Rooney Mara and solely in that aspect it met my expectations. 

The Secret Scripture is based on the novel of the same name and is about a girl named Rose (played by Rooney Mara) and her young life in which she has a few suitable men interested in her. The film chronicles her love life and the turmoil that follows with it. It also details her mental health problems and her hospitalization which changes her life in unimaginable ways. The film follows an older Rose (Vanessa Redgrave) and is told through her written diary entries. 

This film isn't very good. I did read that book readers were extremely disappointed by this film either through its adaptation or through changing key points of the plot. The film drudges along and never looks to fully realize its purpose. I think the lead actors's chemistry was off and the script really let the actors down (possibly from not being good enough).  Maybe I am biased because I love Mara but I think she did really well in the film and gave a full effort. You could sense the bewilderment in her character when she got locked into the mental institution.

Overall, no harm done with this one. I didn't really know about it or have any hopes. Bare minimum was that I wanted to see Rooney Mara do well and she does. The film just isn't interesting has a lot of questions and is structured in a careless manner. Nothing to really see here. I'll just look forward to seeing Mara as Mary Magdeline later this year instead.

9 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Excellent acting
mariami29 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I liked the movie but there are some gaps in the plot and the events that doesn't make sense. it's such a coincidence that the doctor who arrives in the hospital is surprisingly getting interested in one of the patients and listens to her story. Later he discovers that this woman is his mother.

Acting and directing is excellent in the movie. Rooney Mara plays her role very well like Vanessa Redgrave. I liked that the plot is twisted and we don't know what actually happened till the end.

Overall I liked the movie and it's worth to see for once.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
--- Why this movie was burnt ---
e.komitopoulos7 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie yesterday..i am no critic i just saying my opinion...

This could be a grate movie..but it was burnt to the ground...or in other words it was saved by the astonishing performance of the actors.First of all the plot has many gaps,the story alone could have help the director to put many more scenes into the movie to make it more interesting to the public. The surroundings are beautiful but its not enough. The Secret Scripture (by the way the title of the movie) was not focused. it could have been shown that the old lady was indeed changing the books phrases so that no one could read it except her, showing that she was more capable and smart,instead of a left alone crazy woman abandoned in a sanatorium .The scenes with the priest could have been more analytic as far as how and why did he grow this maniac jealous attitude about her.Even the love that she has for the young guy could have been more deeply shown. The fact that the doctor is interested about this woman past and suddenly out of nowhere when he had a conversation with the nurse about his family realizes that the birth dates of him and the old crazy woman matches and then he understands that its his mother,it is just a big hilarious fail.The hole movie was like pieces of different scene materials put it all together just to make a movie.

In my opinion again this could have been a great movie,like a mix of The notebook with the Pearl Harbor combined.
6 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
carolrmag4 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie touches your heart. It brought me to tears more than once. Perhaps it tells nothing new, but it definitely important not to forget. The lives of so many women who were cast away merely by gossip and envy. How rough the system was. And I take it back, the story isn't new but it isn't old either. Many women from around the world still live in similar systems. That's why is so important that brilliant films such as this one keep being made. Everyone should see it. The actor did a splendid job too. You will not end this movie without being deeply moved by its story.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews