A Quiet Shame: Movies About the Catholic Church Sex Scandal


Movie Mezzanine, one of my long-time outlets (if you count two years, give or take, as a long time on any quantifiable scale), underwent a makeover in 2016, and I’m happy to share my first contribution to the site in all of its new and shiny glory: an essay about the Catholic Church sex scandal on film, and how even the very best films in that mode tend not to be about the victims. I am not necessarily making criticism as much as I am making critique – Spotlight has its problems, but those problems have little to do with its focal points, for example – but it is worth wondering when mainstream (and even alt-mainstream) films will tell the stories of the victims of clerical abuse rather than the stories of the people who either uncovered that abuse, were complicit in that abuse, or facilitated that abuse. I think it’s a question worth pondering. Head over to Movie Mezzanine to see where my musings wound up taking me.

6 thoughts on “A Quiet Shame: Movies About the Catholic Church Sex Scandal

  1. S’il y a effectivement eu des scandales de cet ordre au sein de l’église, tant aux E.U qu’en France, il y a en aussi eu au sein de l’Education Nationale ou de l’Armée, mais, comme toujours, c’est toujours sur l’Eglise que les rapaces anticléricaux se font les griffes…

  2. Wasn’t a massive fan of this – the hype didn’t help, but I felt it could and should have been much better directed and a bit more dramatised. All felt a little cold and distant to me.

    • Matt Singer at Screen Crush wrote a pretty persuasive article about the film’s direction, though I disagree with a bunch of fundamental arguments he makes regardless. It’s a smart piece. Check it out if you can.

      For my own part, I liked “Spotlight” well enough but also felt that it is directed like a stage play for the purpose of highlighting the performances of its cast. That’s its best strength.

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