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The Secret Scripture review

In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot, Brothers… For almost 20 years now, Jim Sheridan has proved himself one of the finest Irish directors of his generation. He proves it once again this year with his latest output, The Secret Scripture, which was presented in February at a preview showing at the Dublin Film Festival.

The story centres around an old woman in a mental hospital, Roseanne, who has been charged over the death of her newborn child. The film perfects the art of the emotionally riveting drama.

The Secret Scripture // Twitter

It never falls into a silly pathos thanks to the exceptional performance of its stellar cast. Vanessa Redgrave, in the leading role of Roseanne, puts in one of her finest performances in front of the camera. Rooney Mara, as her younger version, and Eric Bana, as a psychologist, play supporting roles which are equally encapsulating in their own right.

The use of a flashback narrative enables the audience to see and understand the characters and story in a new light, with the two timelines joining in a beautiful and unpredictable ending. This trip through time tells a moving love story in a heart wrenching manner, despite being a topic that Jim Sheridan is unfamiliar with, but is no less incapable of portraying.

The challenge is well met, even if The Secret Scripture deserved to be a little bit less classic in its form and a little bit more original in the way cinema devices are used. It remains a genuinely moving film, standing proudly with Sheridan’s finest moments.

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