The Boys of St. Vincent | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Boys of St. Vincent

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This unforgettable two-part Canadian TV docudrama (1992) deals forcefully though not exploitatively with a very delicate subject--the sexual abuse and sadistic treatment of boys at a Catholic orphanage in Newfoundland by some of the religious brothers assigned to take care of them. Suggested by real-life events (and consequently held back from public broadcast while a related investigation was under way), the two 95-minute features are sensitively directed by John N. Smith and cogently written by Smith, Des Walsh, and Sam Grana. The first part focuses on the relationship between a key offender and a ten-year-old who has been singled out as "his boy," leading to a complaint lodged by a janitor and a subsequent police investigation followed by a hasty cover-up. The second part charts the reopening of the case 15 years later, when the offender, who has long since left the order to become a respectable husband and father, is summoned to a hearing, along with his victim and a key witness, both young men now. Neither homophobic nor psychologically pat, the film doesn't make the mistake of pretending to offer the last word on the subject, and is striking most of all for the nuanced performance of Henry Czerny as the main offender, though all the acting is first-rate. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, November 11, 7:00 (part one) and 8:45 (part two); Saturday and Sunday, November 12 and 13, 3:15 and 7:00 (part one) and 5:00 and 8:45 (part two); and Monday through Thursday, November 14 through 17, 7:00 (part one) and 8:45 (part two); 281-4114.

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