When Father Greg (Roache) arrives at his new Liverpool parish, he's appalled at what he regards as the lax morals of his more experienced colleague, Father Matthew (Wilkinson), who shares a bed with their housekeeper Maria (Tyson). The priests are utterly at odds, temperamentally, politically and doctrinally. However, it soon emerges that Greg's fierce conservatism covers a turmoil of self-doubt: one evening he swaps his dog collar for a leather jacket and picks up a lover in a gay bar (Carlyle). The film calls on the traditions of the best radical TV drama. Wickedly sardonic and very moving, with an outstanding performance from Roache at the centre of a fine cast, it clearly works a treat for cinema audiences. In the opening sequence a priest uses a large crucifix as a battering ram, which gives a fair idea of the level of ecclesiastical debate. The film's true subject, however, is emotional courage, and that it has in spades.

Release details

Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Antonia Bird
Screenwriter: Jimmy McGovern
Cast: Linus Roache
Tom Wilkinson
Cathy Tyson
Robert Carlyle
James Ellis
Lesley Sharp
Robert Pugh
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