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Our Fathers
Our Fathers
Actors: Christopher Plummer, Ted Danson
Genres: Drama, Television
R     2006     2hr 10min

Based on the compelling book this true story focuses on the sexual abuse scandal & cover-up. The story unfolds in early 2002: when a group of reporters blew open the sexual abuse scandal surrounding father john j geoghan &...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Christopher Plummer, Ted Danson
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television
Studio: Showtime Ent.
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/24/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Difficult to watch, but very even-handed...
Isabelle | Burbank, CA USA | 03/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I applaud the deft handling of this very painful subject matter. Every player in this was portrayed sympathetically and fairly, even Law himself. The acting was superb, the direction outstanding.

I have to single out Brian Dennehey's portrayal of Fr. Dominic Spagnalia, a priest who spoke out, loudly and publicly, against the crimes against the children and the coverup of his own superiors. Of course, the church couldn't let that go. First they had him accused of of the same (all falsely); his own parish knew better and supported him fervently. So then they had him removed when they found out that years ago, during a time when he had left the priesthood, he'd had a 5-year affair with a man. Doesn't matter that it was between two consenting adults, they were looking for dirt and the Catholic churc hatefully and vengefully condemned him for this. Such is "justice" and "compassion" in the church.

I highly recommend this movie as an eye-opener to the good ol' boys club known as the Catholic Church. If not for a few lawyers like Martin Garabedian, a few reporters like the Boston Globe task team, a few brave victims like the Birmingham Boys, this would still be happening behind the hypocritcal sachristy and secret sanctity known as the Catholic priesthood."
A thoughtful look at the sexual abuse scandal in the Boston
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"For me there were two key scenes in "Our Fathers," the 2005 Showtime movie about the sexual abuse and scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in Boston. The first is when a group of hardhats makes a crude sexual remark to Olan Horne (Chris Beauer), one of the men who was abused when he was a boy. They all laugh and the victim gets in their face and tells them exactly what happened. You would think this would make these jerks shut up, but when he turns and leaves another one of them makes another remark. Which requires another victim (Daniel Baldwin) to get it that idiot's face. But clearly the chain will remain unbroken, because these are people who will never learn. Throughout the movie there are those who will refuse to accept the truth, which is part of the reason that it kept happening over and over again, just like the cruel jokes in this scene.

The second comes after Horne knocks on the door of Cardinal Bernard Law (Christopher Plummer) and is not only able to talk to head of the Boston archdiocese but actually convinces the Cardinal to go with him to a meeting of the victims. Such a meeting clearly constitutes too little too late, and I totally agree that Law had to resign, but I was moved by the idea that Law remembered what it was like to be a priest who looks out for his parishioners. That does not take away from the tragedy, but it does make Law human and underscore that if he or somebody else in authority had done the right thing the lives of countless young boys would not have been ruined (What would have been the right thing? Well, I would argue that along with forgiveness and treatment, expelling the priests should have been part of the deal [I would not expect the Church to turn priests over to temporal authorities any more than I expect it to do the same with its parishioners).

I hope that the screenplay by Thomas Michael Donnelly ("The Garden of Redemption"), based on the book by David France, was not taking too many liberties with regards to these scenes, especially the second one. I understand that having Cardinal Law watching Richard Barton being executed in Canterbury Cathedral in "Becket" when he reaches the decision to resign is poetic license rather than something that is historically documented (at least I assume it is). Then again, I also appreciate the irony, since after Law's resignation Pope John Paul II (Jan Rubes) gave the former Boston archbishop the title archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica, a largely ceremonial post often given to retired prelates. You see, the basilica houses not only the body of Pope St. Pius V, but also the brains, tunic, and at least part of the head of St. Thomas a Becket. It might be another unwarranted one, but I assume Donnelly knows this odd little fact.

"Our Fathers" is a bit sketchy at times, mainly because it tries to cover so much ground and so many characters. Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (Ted Danson) is the character that has the privileged hero role in the narrative, but more because he is in the position to tie all of the threads together and not because what he does is any more heroic than the men who came forward to say what happened to them when there were boys. Father Dominic Spagnolia (Brian Dennehy) is another key but minor character because he shows that even as all of this was being brought into the light, the Church continued to knock down those whose sin was speaking the truth. A television movie can hardly be faulted for not really explaining why the church hierarchy did what it did. We know that Cardinal Law was scarcely the first prelate to cover up the sexual abuse of priests, and there was a point where the veil of secrecy became de facto policy rather than a conscious decision. But there was never a point in the past or in the present where any of this was right and part of the horror of it all is that it is unbelievable that the people who knew did not know any better when it came to cleaning God's house."
W. Stankiewicz | philadelphia, pa United States | 01/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"i applaude the persons who had the courage to come forward ,what a weight to hold on to for years.this makes watergate look like a petty crime.. this by far is in my list of top 5 movies. very realistic!I recomend you just buy this movie watch the film then always keep not one but both eyes on your children. It IS A SHAME HOWEVER THAT BY THE ACTIONS OF MAYBE 5%-10% MAKE YOU DISTRUST SO MANY.

The Catholic Church's Scandalous Coverup
David Thomson | Houston, TX USA | 07/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Most Catholics (I am now a former Catholic) of my era were naive. I was unaware of the child abuse crisis even while being a part time Catholic journalist during the middle 1970s. Alas, there was indeed a time when I spent numerous hours over alcoholic refreshments discussing the somewhat secretive business of the Church. I thought I was in the loop. The fact that a number of the clergy might molest children did not especially bother me. I knew about the arrest and conviction of the famous conservative priest Richard Ginder, editor of the widely read "Our Sunday Visitor." Sin is alive and well on planet Earth, and even priests are sinners. In my wildest imagination, however, I never considered it possible that a priest would essentially be allowed by the hierarchy to molest even more children. There is little doubt but that I would have accused someone of anti-Catholic bigotry if they even suggested something so vile. I might have even tried to punch them in the face.

I agree with those who point out that the makers of Our Fathers included too many characters in the script. Ellen Burstyn is in only one scene. We barely get to know something about her character---and she completely disappears. Nonetheless, this film is still well worth seeing. It is based on actual scandals of the Boston archdiocese. Archbishops like Cardinal Bernard Law (Christopher Plummer) cared little about the children. Protecting their fellow priests was perceived to be their primary responsibility. Our Fathers will enrage you. Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (Ted Danson) is right on target: the Catholic Church would never address clerical child abuse unless it was severely hurt in the pocket book. He rightfully desired to collect as much money as possible for his clients. Should Our Fathers destroy your faith in God? No, but you will realize that a mature faith requires standing on your own two feet and not groveling before any Church's clerical establishment. God gave you a brain. Use it.

David Thomson
Flares into Darkness"