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Release Date: 03/17/23 [Hulu]
Genre: Crime. Drama. History. 

Studio: 20th Century Studios

"Loretta McLaughlin was the reporter who first connected the murders and broke the story of the Boston Strangler. She and Jean Cole challenged the sexism of the early 1960s to report on the city's most notorious serial killer." 


The Boston Strangler is one of the most infamous serial killers in U.S. history. Although many true crime documentaries and movies have covered the series of stranglings and the man behind them, Boston Strangler takes a different approach to the well-known story. 


Writer and director Matt Ruskin focuses on real-life journalist Loretta McLaughlin (Kiera Knightley), who worked at the Boston Record American. Loretta is a wife and mother who is stuck writing in the Lifestyle section of the newspaper. Her latest assignment is to review a new toaster despite her desire to cover crime. She takes an interest in a series of murders that all have similar characteristics and all involve older women. Her boss, Jack (Chris Cooper), lets her investigate on her own time. 


When her story about the murders and the possibility of a serial killer running amuck in Boston hits the pages of the Boston Record American, Loretta makes waves in the city as well as among the police force. Jack decides to pair her with a more seasoned investigative reporter named Jean Cole (Carrie Coon). Right away, Jean’s know-how and connections make an impression on Loretta. Jean is assertive and utilizes her relationships with members of the police force to gain access to details that help shine a light on the investigation. The two make a good team and begin tackling the story (and the rampant sexism at the paper and among the police force) together. 


Knightley and Coon are a great tag team and their chemistry builds interestingly throughout the movie. Most of that is due to the script from Ruskin. He showcases how difficult it was for women in the 1960s to be taken seriously for their work, especially at a newspaper. The two women rely on each other to navigate the tough work environment. Ruskin also chooses not to focus too heavily on the prime suspect for the murders, Albert DeSalvo (David Dastmalchian). He doesn’t have much screen time, and it’s refreshing to see a serial killer fade into the background instead of being the main character. 


The plot of Boston Strangler is very straightforward and the movie doesn’t really pull any punches. Knightley puts in her usual reliably good performance and Ruskin’s script weaves together the story of all the major players for an entertaining and engaging one hour and fifty-two minutes. For those who know the story of the Boston Strangler well, this movie provides a different vantage point to the murders and highlights the efforts of two real-life journalists who made a difference in the investigation. 

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