Posted November 13, 2015 by in


Total Score

5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: drama
Director: Tom McCarthy
MPAA Rating: R
Actors: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
Length: 128 minutes
Release Date: 11-13-2015
Studio: Anonymous Content, Participant Media, Rocklin / Faust
What We Thought

A human story, a true story, about people who shined a light where others turned a blind eye.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
There are stories that need to be told, that must be told.  SpotlightThe sexual abuse scandal of the Boston archdiocese is one of those stories.  People needed to know what was happening, the silence needed to be broken.
     Spotlight is about how four reporters of the Boston Globe investigated the story, the key word being how.  A procedural drama, the film shows journalists at work.  Making phone calls, pounding on doors, asking questions, being persistent.  Footwork.
     What they uncover is shocking.  A heinous crime was perpetrated upon children by priests, sometimes repeatedly.  The scope was epidemic, and yet it was kept quiet by the church.  Proving that Cardinal Law (Len Cariou) knew about it and what he did about it, is what the reporters had to prove.
     The reporters, Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, Ben Bradlee Jr., and Matt Carol, are portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, and Brian d’Arcy James.  They are lead by Walter “Robby” Robinson, portrayed by Micheal Keaton.  Liev Schreiber plays Marty Barton, the Globe’s new editor, who pushes for the story.
     Another director would have exploited the subject matter for melodrama, but helmer Tom McCarthy resists that temptation and keeps performances natural; realistic portrayals for a real story, and this echoed in the lighting design.  Nothing about the film calls attention to itself.  This is what happened, the film says.
     In a brisk 128 minutes, Spotlight explores its subject matter fully, how the crime affected its victims, how it left them with shattered lives, some of whom turned to alcohol and drug use.  It had to be stopped, and bringing the truth to the public’s awareness was the way to accomplish that.  Silence and secrecy enable predators.  Spotlight is, as much as anything else, about the importance of journalism.  Keeping the public informed keeps the public safe.
     That’s why Spotlight is an important film.  Much like the news coverage itself, the film makes a record, in dramatic form, of what happened.  It is a human story, a true story, about people who did their job, who shined a light where others turned a blind eye.  Spotlight is a must-see drama, for what it says both about the public’s complicity in covering-up a private crime, and about our capacity to uncover and expose the truth.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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