A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Victims and survivors of abuse show great strength and courage, but the included representatives of the clergy show self-interest and denial -- particularly O'Grady, who doesn't really show signs of remorse.
Violence & Scariness
No violent images, per se, but many stories of sexual molestation demonstrate that this is violence against children; one victim angrily recalls where he was sodomized; one victim's father cries out and accuses priest of rape (as opposed to the euphemistic "inappropriate touching") -- his outburst is loud and upsetting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ongoing discussion of sexual activity, perversion, and abuse; interviewees (victims and their parents) recall child abuse by priest; priest describes his attraction to young children (in underwear and naked).
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Several (5 or so) uses of "f--k" (in anger); other occasional profanity ("s--t"); language describing sexual abuse (including "penis").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional cigarette smoking during interviews.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this intense documentary isn't for kids. Focused on one priest's repeated abuse of children in Southern California during the 1970s and '80s, the film includes many disturbing descriptions and memories. During their emotional interviews, victims and family members use some explicit language. But perhaps more upsettingly, the priest, now retired, describes his past actions in passive language, as patchy memories; the smile on his face suggests that he isn't at all remorseful and remains unaware of the damage he's done. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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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Our Editors Recommend
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