Sick Leave Film Analysis

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The filmmakers contrast Sacha’s refusal to “sanitize” the language about Joe’s abuse with the language used by her elsewhere in the film, and the language other people use. For example, the Spotlight team discovers the Church used different designations to say where the priests were who had been discovered abusing kids. Matt tells the team, I’ve been through a lot of these. ‘Sick leave’ isn’t the only designation they use when they take one of these priests out of circulation. They use a slew of terms—‘absent on leave’, ‘unassigned’, ‘emergency response’” to which Mike quips “They got a name for everything, these guys” and Sacha responds bluntly, “Except rape.” When the Church used different designation for why the priests were not in parishes, …show more content…
Sacha is the one who says the word “rape”, and indeed she is one of only three people in the movie who do so, along with Saviano and Father Paquin. Similarly, the only people who say “molest” are Marty, Mike, Sacha, Matt, Robby, Garabedian and Joe; the only people who say “abuse” are Marty, Sacha, Saviano, Garabedian, and Robby. The only people in Spotlight who were critically looking at the Church and uncovering the abuse (or those who lived through it) use the blunt, unsanitized language about the abuse. The Church and those defending the Church, on the contrary, never use language of “abuse”, “molest”, or “rape.” In fact, Peter Conley tells Robby: “The Cardinal may not be perfect but we can’t throw out all the good he’s doing over a few bad apples.” By calling the 80 plus priests in Boston alone who abused children “a few bad apples”, Conley minimizes and downplays, or “sanitizes” the reality of the abuse. In light of Conley’s comment, Sacha’s urging that they cannot “sanitize” the abuse because “people need to know what really happens” makes more sense; while Conley might be able to minimize the abuse, if there was hope for the general public to not minimize it than the abuse needs to be called what it

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