The Boys of St. Vincent

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The Boys of St. Vincent
Directed by John N. Smith
Produced by Claudio Luca
Written by Sam Grana
John N. Smith
Des Walsh
Starring Henry Czerny
Music by Neil Smolar
Cinematography Pierre Letarte
Edited by Werner Nold
Release dates 1992
Running time 90 min. (Germ.) / 186 min. (US)
Country Canada
Language English

The Boys of St. Vincent is a 1992 film directed by John N. Smith for the National Film Board of Canada. It is a two-part docudrama based on real events that took place at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Newfoundland, one of a number of child sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church.

The first film, The Boys of St. Vincent, covers the sexual and physical abuse of a number of orphans by Brothers headed by Brother Peter Lavin (Henry Czerny). The second film, The Boys of St. Vincent: 15 Years Later, covers the trial of the Brothers.

Along with Lavin, Kevin Reevey is the central figure. In the first film Reevey (Johnny Morina) is a 10-year-old abused child who tries to avoid Lavin’s attentions. In the second movie, Reevey (Sebastian Spence) is a young man haunted by his abuse who still has nightmares. Lavin covers up the goings-on at the orphanage for many years, especially his own role in the abuse. Kevin runs away and when he is returned by the police he tries to reject Lavin’s caresses. He is severely beaten with the buckle end of the brother’s belt. A short shower-room sequence was cut when the film was first shown in the United States.

Stephen Lunney (Brian Dodd) is another abused boy. He has an older brother, Brian (Ashley Billiard), at the orphanage who tries to protect him. In the second film, the brothers meet again for the first time in years. Brian (Timothy Webber), now happily married with two children, tries to help Stephen (David Hewlett) when he returns to give evidence at the trial. Stephen is destroyed by the defence advocate, who reveals that he abused seven-year-old boys at the orphanage when he was 16. Stephen then takes his own life with an overdose of drugs. His death finally prompts Reevey to give evidence against Lavin.

Lavin remains in denial, even to his wife. His fate is left unanswered as is the question, posed by his wife at the end of the second film, as to whether he ever molested his own two young sons.

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