Based on a true story from the 1960s, Boston Strangler hones in on the assault and murder of over a dozen Boston women. Rather than creating a biopic of the killer themselves, the true crime thriller is told from the perspective of the woman who first broke the news. Loretta McLaughlin, a reporter for the Record-American newspaper, conducts her own investigation when the case is mishandled by law enforcement. After spotting a pattern, she becomes determined to bring the killer to justice and keep the women of Boston safe and informed in the process.
Written and directed by Matt Ruskin, the main cast includes Pride and Prejudice star Keira Knightley as Loretta, Carrie Coon as Jean Cole, Alessandro Nivola as Detective Conley, and Chris Cooper as Jack Maclaine. At a press conference Screen Rant attended, Knightley was asked what impressed her about the nature of the investigation, given what the women were confronted with throughout the case. Here’s what she had to say:
Keira Knightley: This whole film is really a love song to female investigative journalists. And really highlights how important it is to have women in position of power in storytelling because it was these two women that really went, “This is an important story. This is information that needs to be in the public in order to keep women of Boston safe.”
And I think, largely, it was a story that had been, at that point, ignored by the male establishment. And I don’t know that their male colleagues would have seen the importance of it. So I think it’s wonderful to be part of something that is really highlighting how important it is to have as many good female journalists as you possibly can for the safety of our communities.
What We Know About The Real Women Who Broke The Boston Strangler Story
McLaughlin and Cole exemplified the importance of having female investigative journalists by being the first to connect a string of murders to a single serial killer. Where the police department came up short, the women put their lives on the line to protect the female population of Boston, leaving no stone unturned. The killer was dubbed the “Boston Strangler” as a result of McLaughlin and Cole’s reporting.
In addition to her ongoing investigation, Loretta balanced her work and home life during a time when women were expected to pursue specific careers. She was consistently met with male resistance throughout her time as a journalist, which only strengthened her resolve to uncover the truth behind the murders. Although McLaughlin and Cole both played a major role in solving the case, their accomplishments were never properly acknowledged by history.
As much as they deserve to witness their story onscreen, neither woman is alive to see the film come to fruition. Cole passed away in 2015 and was later followed by McLaughlin three years later. But, regardless of their deaths, Ruskin’s choice to tell Boston Strangler from Loretta’s point of view ensures that the reporters will finally be recognized by the world for their groundbreaking achievement.
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Boston Strangler begins streaming exclusively on Hulu on March 17.