Spotlight (2015)

spotlight poster 2015 movie
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great story about journalism and great cast

Hard subject for some viewers

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Spotlight

Studio:  Anonymous Content

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 3, 2015 (Venice Film Festival)/November 6, 2015 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

spotlight team michael keaton rachel mcadams liev schrieber john slattery brian darcy mark ruffalo

Well…this could ruffle some feathers

In 2001, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) is the new news director at The Boston Globe and finds things are different there.  When he learns about the case against priest John J. Geoghan, he asks the special projects group Spotlight to dig deeper into the case.  Led by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), the Spotlight team of Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy) are about to go against one of the biggest powers in Boston:  The Boston Archdiocese.  With threats of losing the largely Catholic audience, the Spotlight team is about to uncover even more than they ever expected.

Directed by Tom McCarthy, Spotlight tells the true story of exposing the sex abuse scandal in Boston and the larger reaching cover-up by the Catholic Church.  The film was released to rave reviews and praise for the ensemble cast.  The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay with nominations for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Ruffalo), Best Supporting Actress (McAdams), and Best Editing.

spotlight rachel mcadams sacha pfeiffer

It is always nice when there is a nice agreeable molester priest that loves to talk

The expose of the church’s sex crimes led to a Pulitzer Prize for The Boston Globe and from what I’ve seen, the movie neither sugar-coated the story, over-dramatized the story, or exaggerated much of the finding.  This is a pleasant change from most “true story” movies and part of the reason why this movie works better than most.

The story doesn’t need to be built up because it is already shocking and good.  The characters aren’t overplayed and events aren’t like every drama movie.  There aren’t bricks through windows or threats to the main characters…it is simply people doing the jobs and doing them well.  A great example of this is when 9-11 occurred and the story was shelved.  Mark Ruffalo’s character was trying to get documents and worried that other papers would jump on it when was out of the state…it just doesn’t happen.  He has difficulty but he is the only one wanting them.  It is both a pleasant surprise in a movie about breaking news and a good analogy for the whole problem with the church scandal…no one was taking on the challenge.

The cast is perfect.  If you look up the real players involved in the story, the casting was virtually spot-on, but the filmmakers not only chose people who looked like the real people, but they chose people who could act.  Everyone from Michael Keaton to Stanley Tucci to Len Cariou is great, so it is hard to pick out a stand out actor from the group.

spotlight 90 priests mark ruffalo brian darchy rachel mcadams michael keaton

Wait…how many priests?

The movie also makes nice use of Boston.  The iconic city and its churches are looming everywhere and that adds to the suspense (which in reality is non-existent).  It shows how much a part of everyday life the Catholic Church was part of Boston and how going against it would be a dangerous thing.

This is a bit of an odd movie to watch and I think that it will have a different effect viewer to viewer.  As a non-Catholic, the movie angers me in that the church truly believed (due to their power and influence) that they could get away with criminal activity on a massive scale.  I would wonder what viewing Spotlight would be for a Catholic who believed in the church.  This is touched upon by the character in the film slightly, but it cannot be thoroughly explored through the film.  The movie also takes on some of the journalistic ethics behind sitting on a story that should be told to protect innocents…is it right?  Spotlight is good but upsetting on many levels.

Related Links:

The 88th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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