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Based on Sebastian Barry’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Secret Scripture starts slowly but develops into an intriguing and heart-rending mystery.

With stellar performances from Vanessa Redgrave as the elderly Rose, and Rooney Mara as young Rose, this is a story that tugs on your heartstrings in more ways than one. Rose insists on one version of her past, while the psychiatric home she’s spent most of her life in has a different version of events. Rose’s ‘secret scripture’ – her written version of events – reveals the true reality.

Set in Ireland in troubled times, the landscape in both physical and political senses plays a huge part in the story, and the role of women at that time is explored. A sense of loss and futility permeates the film, however there are moments of dazzling brilliance that make this worth watching.

★★★1/2

Reviewed by Lisa Seltzer