The Secret Scripture (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Secret Scripture2017

The Secret Scripture (2017)



Critic Consensus: The Secret Scripture has acclaimed source material and a well-chosen cast in its corner, but despite its stars' valiant efforts, this adaptation was better left on the page.

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Movie Info

A psychiatrist (Eric Bana) examines Roseanne McNulty (Vanessa Redgrave), an elderly Irishwoman living in a mental institution, and learns more about her past in the process. Rooney Mara plays McNulty as a young woman, in flashbacks that detail her love triangle with a fighter pilot (Jack Reynor) and a priest (Theo James). Directed by Jim Sheridan, The Secret Scripture is based on the novel of the same name by Sebastian Barry.

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Jack Reynor
as Michael
Eric Bana
as Dr. William Grene
Theo James
as Father Gaunt
Aidan Turner
as Jack Conroy
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Critic Reviews for The Secret Scripture

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (15)

This is a honourable film that has hits and misses. Watch it for the performances, particularly Redgrave's. Its most telling line is this: Bravery in the face of the enemy

December 8, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The Secret Scripture is a highly streamlined adaptation of Sebastian Barry's 2008 Man Booker finalist.

December 7, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Its lack of nuance and persistent plotting issues frequently undermine much of the potential emotional heft.

May 19, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Sebastian Barry's Costa prizewinning novel is gutted and reconstituted to the point of absurdity in this cockeyed adaptation.

May 18, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Variously lukewarm and lugubrious ...

May 18, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

It's the construction, not the performances, which undermines The Secret Scripture.

May 17, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Secret Scripture


A depiction of the cruelty dealt to a young woman by the religious hierarchy in 20th century Ireland, this screenplay contained too much romanticism to be a thorough indictment of such practices, but the mighty performance of Vanessa Redgrave pushes the excuses to the sidelines. The message is sympathy for the woman Rose, though the film wanted to reconcile the two. Redgrave is fearless, every moment is considered, overflowing with significance. She challenges the reality - including the film's generosity to the church. Only an actor of Redgrave's power could do it. The film is a lesson in the differences between the acting of Redgrave, and the requirements of modern stardom, where the lead actor may often have to be less the true focus than a neutral point around whom the production revolves. This is a deeply touching story, but not as savagely true as say The Magdalen Sisters. Some in the audience may have to keep deciding whose side they are on: it is a power struggle between Redgrave's lead and the production, which she wins - just. An opportunity to watch Redgrave at her brave and fiery best, driving home against the odds the point that what happened to Rose was not, and never would be, all right.

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