Parents' Guide to

Deliver Us from Evil

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Intense child abuse documentary. Adults only.

Movie NR 2006 101 minutes
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Former CNN reporter and first-time director Amy Berg's unsettling film builds slowly toward full revelations. In doing so, it demonstrates the ways that family members and authorities were unable to face what was happening. Deliver Us From Evil uses standard documentary methods -- talking-head interviews, photos provided by interviewees, maps charting O'Grady's movements, and videotaped depositions by church officials -- in order to show the frightening depths of the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Interviewees -- including abuse survivors and their families, lawyers for the families, a therapist, and a cleric who served with O'Grady -- trace O'Grady's particular case in some detail. Much of this detail comes across indirectly, as the film also includes videotaped depositions by church officials as they try very hard not to answer questions about what they knew and when they knew it. But their fidgeting and refusal to look at the camera only make them look shifty.

By the time O'Grady reveals that he, too, was abused as a child, it's almost impossible to feel sympathy for him. But his ongoing inability to comprehend what he's done or even what happened to him underscores the film's most terrible truth: The cycle of abuse is ongoing.

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