Despite Eric Bana’s questionable Irish accent The Secret Scripture is poignant, raw, moving and heartbreaking.
Although the pacing is slow Jim Sheridan’s movie was captivating right from the opening scene.
Based on Sebastian Barry’s novel each character is complex, interesting and human making the 108-minute movie well worth watching.
Set in a small rural village in Ireland during the 1940s the story is told through flashbacks by the elderly Lady Rose, (Vanessa Redgrave) who lives in a mental hospital.
She has lived there for more than 30 years after being accused of being a nymphomaniac and having murdered her own son, which she has vehemently denied.
Together with a kindly nurse (Susan Lunch) Dr William Grene (Eric Bana) slowly begins to uncover the truth as he trawls through past records and the drawings in Lady Rose’s bible, the only clues to her past.
It is soon revealed during WWII Rose (Rooney Mara) is in love with an RAF pilot (Jack Reynor) who is hated by the staunch Protestant men in the village and they are out for blood.
While trying to keep him safe Rose also finds herself battling the powers of the Catholic Church when she rebuffs the advances of Father Gaunt (Theo James) as well as idle gossip and the small mindedness of a stereotypical rural setting.
The performances are nothing short of great especially Redgrave who captures the vulnerability and at the same time the strength of her character perhaps one of the most moving scenes is watching her wizened hands play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as she remembers slow dancing with her RAF pilot before the truth of what really happened is revealed.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Distributor: Vertigo Releasing
In cinemas now