Happy Valley

color. 98 min. , Asylum Entertainment & Passion Pictures, dist. by Good Docs, www.gooddocs.net. 2014. DVD $179; acad. libs. $349; streaming $549. Public performance. SOC SCI/SPORTS
OrangeReviewStarOne could hardly overstate football coach Joe Paterno's reputation at Penn State. He'd won two national championships, led five unbeaten teams, and taken the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games. His players graduated, and he contributed generously to the library system. When a graduate assistant told Paterno in 2001 that he had seen assistant coach Jerry Sandusky molesting a young boy in the shower, Paterno (1926–2012) reported the incident to his boss but not to the police, and the crime was covered up. Sandusky was eventually convicted on 45 counts. Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were fired. Rioting ensued; Paterno died of cancer three months later.
VERDICT This documentary examines the effects of these episodes on the individuals, the families, the campus, and the wider community. It explores deep waters via access to network archives, the families, and one of the victims, Sandusky's adopted son. As a play-by-play recounting of this full-blown tragedy, Happy Valley succeeds spectacularly.
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