‘Happy Valley’ and the Painful Ambiguity of Penn State Now

Penn State Community Shaken By Sex Abuse Scandal

Read on esquire.com

Sue Paterno, in pearls and a red dress, a widow. Jerry Sandusky, first in handcuffs, then an ill-fitting sport coat, then a red jumpsuit. His face long and cracking, his dark eyes sagging like a beaten dog—more scared than shamed, more bewildered old man than cunning sexual predator. At least, that’s what it looks like on the surface of Amir Bar-Lev’sHappy Valley, a new documentary about the Penn State scandal that moves and feels like a drama. The film opens on the pastoral hills surrounding the 106,572-seat Beaver Stadium, the nucleus of State College, Pennsylvania. “It’s a tough life,” says the nasally Joe Paterno, sounding more like a grandma than a titan of American football. “We had Camelot,” his wife says later on, as if reading the line from a script. (more…)