May 18, 2005

Our Fathers

Hollywood Reporter

By Barry Garron

8-10:10 p.m.
Saturday, May 21

The revelation of widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church raises too many disturbing questions and presents too many serious issues for any film, or even a miniseries, to thoroughly explore. And while there is widespread agreement that this abuse by trusted and admired religious leaders was despicable, opinions differ on why it happened, what should be done about it and how the victims should be compensated. Even the victims don't all agree on answers to these questions.

In trying to get a filmic handle on the situation, Showtime based "Our Fathers" on a meticulously researched account of how the scandal unraveled in Boston, as told in David France's best-seller "Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal." France worked alongside teleplay writer Thomas Michael Donnelly, passing along documents and interviews as the book was being written. Perhaps, as a result, "Our Fathers" sacrifices Hollywood dramatic polish in favor of a factually pristine presentation of events and personalities.

This is, among other things, a classic David-vs.-Goliath story as well as a tale of an insidious bureaucracy as corrupt as the greediest energy manipulators or defense subcontractors. Actually, worse, because it robbed its victims of their faith and souls. But rather than speechify about this grand evil, Donnelly lets it unfold bit by bit, giving us perspectives from a growing number of victims as well as church leaders, who quickly circle the wagons and go into cover-up mode.

Posted by kshaw at May 18, 2005 08:29 PM