may documentary: happy valley.

between the travel and the packing, i very nearly forgot about may’s documentary. luckily for me, sundance now doc club sends me periodic emails with new titles they have added, and i just happened to see it last week and remember that i was dangerously close to missing this month’s viewing.

the first title i saw when i opened the email was happy valley, a 2014 documentary about the jerry sandusky scandal at penn state and its implications. i followed the story and the beginning of the trial pretty closely since i was in the states when it broke, so i was intrigued to learn more about it.

happy valley was filmed over the course of one year following sandusky’s arrest for child sex abuse. the film features interviews with local attorneys, reporters, one of sandusky’s adopted sons – who also claims he was abused – and two of joe paterno’s sons as well as his wife and looks at if and how those around sandusky enabled his behaviour.

i thought the film was very interesting, but as this case always does, i am left with more questions than answers. how much did the administration know as far back as 1998? how much did paterno – the beloved football coach for over 50 years – know and hide? how far is a school willing to go to protect its athletic department? how many more victims are there who have yet to speak up?

i can still remember how shocking it was to first learn of this in november 2011, and it is no less shocking today. i wonder how it is possible that one man was able to terrorize so many young boys over such a long period of time without anyone knowing, and then i remember that it is still happening today.

happy valley was certainly thought-provoking, and it’s an interesting watch if you’re up for it. at 97 minutes, it’s shorter than most movies these days, and it would be a great primer for someone who is not familiar with the case.

what was the last documentary that made you think about something in a new light? tell me about it in the comments!


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