Deliver Us from Evil

  • Review Date: May 7, 2007
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Intense child abuse documentary. Adults only.
  • Review Date: May 7, 2007
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

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).

Language

Several (5 or so) uses of "f--k" (in anger); other occasional profanity ("s--t"); language describing sexual abuse (including "penis").

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional cigarette smoking during interviews.

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.

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What's the story?

DELIVER US FROM EVIL focuses on the sad, infuriating story of Catholic priest Father Oliver O'Grady. During the 1970s and '80s, O'Grady was assigned to a series of Southern California parishes. At each stop, he abused children sexually; each time he was found out, church officials moved him to another town -- in order, the film argues, to protect their own careers from scandal by association. No one took responsibility for O'Grady's repeated, predictable actions, and so he kept going, unchecked, for nearly two decades.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Former CNN reporter and first-time director Amy Berg's film builds slowly toward full revelations, demonstrating 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the responsibility of the church in this ongoing scandal. How does the movie present the reasons for the cover-up? Interview subjects say that they can't forgive or forget such betrayal, by both O'Grady and the church hierarchy; how do you think people can deal with this sort of devastation? How does the film suggest that the two victims' journey to Rome was a start toward recovery?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 13, 2006
DVD release date:May 8, 2007
Cast:Ann Jyono, Oliver O'Grady, Thomas Doyle
Director:Amy Berg
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Documentary
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
MPAA explanation:not rated

This review of Deliver Us from Evil was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

no one should see this if their not over 23

i read a few books about Child Abuse and my Mom barely let me read THEM! So i bet this movie is really inapropreate.

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