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Review: 20th Century Studios’ ‘Boston Strangler’

20th Century Studios’ film “Boston Strangler” premieres on Friday, March 17, 2023, exclusively on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America, and Disney+ under the Star banner in all other territories.

“Boston Strangler” stars two-time Oscar® nominee Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game,” “Pride & Prejudice”), Emmy® nominee Carrie Coon (“Fargo,” “The Gilded Age”), Alessandro Nivola (“Amsterdam”), David Dastmalchian (“Dune”), Morgan Spector (“Homeland”), Bill Camp (“Joker”), and Academy Award® winner Chris Cooper (“Adaptation”). Written and directed by Matt Ruskin (“Crown Heights”), the film is produced by Ridley Scott (“The Martian”), Kevin J. Walsh (“House of Gucci”), Michael Pruss (“American Woman”), Josey McNamara (“Promising Young Woman”), and Tom Ackerley (“I, Tonya”), with Michael Fottrell (“The Fate of the Furious”) and Sam Roston serving as executive producers. Sam Roston will oversee for Scott Free and Bronte Payne for LuckyChap.

The film follows Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), a reporter for the Record-American newspaper, who becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, McLaughlin and Cole bravely pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth.

 

At a recent press conference, Knightley said that “Boston Strangler” is a love song to female journalists and she couldn’t have said it better.  The film beautifully spotlights these two journalists who would have been overshadowed by men who ruled the journalism world at that time.  Loretta and other women who worked at the Record-American newspaper were typically given lifestyle or fashion topics to write about or products to review such as toasters.  When three women are murdered, McLaughlin wants to profile the victims and believes she can connect the murders. As the killings continue, Loretta meets the savvy Jean Cole at the newspaper and the two women set out to investigate the murders and the person responsible for terrifying women all over the Boston metropolitan area that later was dubbed by Loretta and Jean as the Boston Strangler.  The two women broke ground on many discoveries and started connecting the cases however they were rarely recognized for their work or given the credit they were due.  While the case befuddled detectives, these two women were determined to find justice for the victims.

Many have probably heard about the Boston Strangler before but few really know the details and how complex the case really was.  Parts of the mystery are still unsolved today.  Knightley delivers a stunning performance as McLaughlin, showing her drive to succeed at work while also juggling family responsibilities.  Coon also identifies with Cole’s strong will and skilled investigative reporting.

Washed-out muted colors portray the smoky grittiness of the 1960s which helps paint the picture of that era. The movie is perfectly paced and oftentimes felt like a mystery thriller. Those who are fans of true crime shows will especially find themselves hooked.

“Boston Strangler” lays out true life events but highlights the story that fell through the cracks years ago.  A well-deserved time for this film to shine during Women’s History Month.

ABC Audio, a division of ABC News, will release a true crime companion podcast about the Boston Strangler ahead of the film’s debut on Disney+. The three-part narrative series will be hosted by award-winning journalist and former Boston Globe reporter Dick Lehr, who knew Loretta McLaughlin and has reported on the Boston Strangler case. The podcast will delve into the backstories and tragic fate of the victims linked to the Boston Strangler case and explore why these half-century-old killings remain the subject of so much fascination. It will be available for free on all major podcast platforms.

You can check out the trailer for the film below:

20th Century Studios’ film “Boston Strangler” premieres on Friday, March 17, 2023, exclusively on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America, and Disney+ under the Star banner in all other territories.

Michelle Beck
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