Source: Alexa MacPherson, attached movie poster
Before we get to the review of the documentary, I would like to post a quote about the free screening and Q&A after the film by one of the victims that is featured in the film, Alexa MacPherson.
"If you are free this evening there is an amazing and powerful free documentary showing at Boston College (Cushing Auditorium) @ 7pm tonight on the clergy sexual abuse crisis in Boston. I am proud to have been filmed and be part of this incredible documentary along with my fellow survivors/advocates. More needs to be done to STOP the abuse and exploitation of all children and most importantly to hold those perpetrators (and those that hide them) accountable for committing such demoralizing acts against innocent children!! Please attend if you can."
I bet a lot of you are wondering why a review about a documentary about sexual abuse and it's cover up by both the Church and State is on a site that mainly covers super hero news. Quite frankly it takes the fortitude of heroes to speak truth to power, especially after having the most degrading and vile acts done to them. For every horrible villain we read about in comic books, there are more dreadful ones in the real world. Like Norman Osborn and Lex Luthor, they found that the best way to hide is in plain sight in positions of power. Though there are acts of evil that even those guys won't do and wouldn't cover up. It is finally becoming more well known that pedophiles have found sanctuary in the Catholic Church and other institutions. Though that is more or less restricted to the headlines and a few minutes on the news. The Documentary Who Takes Away the Sins...: Witnesses to Clergy Abuse shows the deep extent of what the Church has done to cover up the crimes. It also lets some of the victims tell their stories of not just the battles with their abusers, but the war that would last for years to come to try and see justice done. It's not only the Church they had to fight. Prosecutors and Police Officers looking the other way. Even Judges sighting the Constitution's separation of Church and State as a reason not to move forward with a case. Due to outdated grandfathered statuette of limitations laws, most of the victims in the film can't get justice for themselves, but continue the fight to seek justice for other victims. Hopefully help prevent other children from becoming victims of predators in power.
Analyzing the film as a film for a second, it is more successful than others like it in a few ways. The documentary doesn't try to over sensationalize or go into graphic details of the abuse. Not for lack of the victims telling their stories during filming. I saw part of an early cut of the film and it was brutal. I almost didn't go to the premier of the film because the details of what these priest did to the children were so disgusting. Thankfully, the producers and editors recut the film so that it focused more on how the attacks effected the victims lives. Both at the time of their abuse and going forward through their lives. The film also focuses on people that knew about the abuse and refused to look the other way when ordered to do so. Reporters and editors at the Boston Globe that questioned why they were allowed to go after judges and mob bosses, but the Catholic Church was off limits. Priest and Nuns that would rather do what is right by their followers than protect the reputation of the church. Lawyers that were willing to fight the long battles for what their clients needed rather than take a quiet and easy settlement to quickly line their pockets. It also does a good job balancing the stories of male and female victims. Thus making it known that this is a problem due to pedos and doesn't try to paint the problem as "gay" as the church likes to spin the stories. The documentary also has a short running time so that it gets it's point across without overwhelming the viewer.
So maybe instead of seeing Ironman 3 tonight, go see a free screening of Who Takes Away the Sins...: Witnesses to Clergy Abuse. More details in the flyer below.
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