Moviegoers may have noticed that 2003 has already distinguished itself as an unusual year at the movies. We've had an overdose of action based on comic books. We've seen the advent of two-part movies—this summer's Matrix Reloaded will soon by followed by Matrix Revolutions and in October we get Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1. At the box office, family-friendly films Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean have surpassed the year's most heavily hyped blockbusters.

Perhaps the most interesting trend in this year's films has been the increasing number of "must see" documentaries. So far, critics and audiences are receiving docs better than either dramas or comedies. The summer's most suspenseful film was Spellbound. Winged Migration was the most visually enthralling.

Two recently released documentaries deserve attention for exploring similar territory in extremely different ways. Capturing the Friedmans and Stevie are both concerned with the consequences of concealed sin—especially the sin of child molestation. Both films are galvanizing experiences that viewers are unlikely to forget. One tells a distressing story in order to show viewers how quickly they can jump to conclusions about complicated matters. The other shows us the potential for redemption in the most troubled souls and gives shining examples of Christians acting as role models.

One nasty surprise follows another in Capturing the Friedmans

Director Andrew Jarecki began working on a documentary about Silly Billy, New York's most successful party clown, David Friedman. He ended up with a much more ambitious film about the man's family history and a scandal that rocked the Long Island town of Great Neck.

Jarecki must have been surprised at Friedman's remarkable ...

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