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Spotlight Movie Review

Director: Tom McCarthy

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Brian d'Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Gene Amoroso, Jamey Sheridan, Billy Crudup, Maureen Keiller, Paul Guilfoyle, Len Cariou, Neal Huff, Michael Countryman, Michael Cyril Creighton, Laurie Heineman, David Fraser, Tim Progosh, Jimmy LeBlanc

Oscar Wins: Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture

Other Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Best Supporting Actress (Rachel McAdams), Best Director, Best Film Editing

On January 6, 2002, the city of Boston woke up to the following story on the cover of "The Boston Globe":

Church allowed abuse by priest for years

Since the mid-1990’s, more than 130 people have come forward with horrific childhood tales about how former priest John J. Geoghan allegedly fondled or raped them during a three-decade spree through a half-dozen Greater Boston parishes. Almost always, his victims were grammar school boys. One was just four years old…

Needless to say, this article not only shook up the residents of Boston, but the entire Catholic church. Not only did this article uncover nearly 80 priests in Boston alone that had abused young children, but also outlined how the Catholic church knew about it and tried to cover it up.

The journalists who put this article together were members of the Spotlight team – an investigative branch of "The Boston Globe" newspaper. This film is the story of that investigation.

When the new editor-in-chief of "The Boston Globe", Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), first brought up the idea of covering the abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic church to his editorial team, it was not well-received. Boston was, after all, predominantly Catholic and most of the writers on "The Boston Globe" were active members of the Catholic church. For a paper struggling to sustain subscribers, this was not the way to gain their trust and admiration.

But Baron was persistent and put the Spotlight team on the case. In a true testament to ensemble acting, the team made up of editors Robby Robinson (Michael Keaton) and Ben Bradlee, Jr. (John Slattery), researchers Sasha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) and writer Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) begin the journey from skepticism to revelation as they work with victims, survivors and lawyers to uncover the truth of what’s been going on behind the veil.

The drama in Spotlight comes in a slow build to discovery, highlighting the unglamorous leg-work that goes into creating a power-house expose. Without any CGI explosions or superheroes flying in and out of frame, Spotlight was one of the most thrilling movies I’ve seen in the last 5 to 10 years.

This film is not easy to watch. It’s gonna sit in your gut for a while, as it should. You’re going to want to think about it. You’re going to want to talk about it. You may even want to see it again. There’s a reason this movie won more than half the awards and accolades it was nominated for. Not only does Spotlight break the story – it breaks the silence.


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