Movie Review: Spotlight

Spotlightby Patricia L. Dickson1/3/16
The movie Spotlight tells the true events of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within Boston’s local Catholic Archdiocese in mid-2001. The scandal shook the entire Catholic Church to its core. Spotlight is a department within the Boston Globe newspaper that specializes in breaking investigative stories. Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer is the writer/director team.

I first heard about the movie Spotlight on talk radio on my commute to work. What piqued my interest in the movie was the historical aspect of it. Because the showing was during the Christmas holiday season and my calendar was already full, I decided to take in a Saturday matinee showing.  The day of the movie I sat in a theater with a room full of senior citizens.

The movie is full of drama as it takes the viewer through the unfolding events of the Catholic Church scandal. It exposed how deep the roots of the Catholic Church reached in Boston.  Because many Bostonians were connected somehow to the Catholic Church, the cover up was so vast that it reached all the way through the police department and the courts. The scandal was able to continue as long as it did because everyone within the Catholic Church, (including the police, lawyers, reporters, and judges) was more interested in protecting the Church’s good name rather than getting rid of the bad priest. It reminds me of our political parties today whose only goal seems to be to protect the establishment.

Some of the victims (mostly adults at the time the scandal broke) repeated their stories to the Spotlight team of reporters. The victims had sent their stories to the Boston Globe years earlier but because many of the reporters were Catholics themselves, they buried them.  The movie attempted to follow the actual storyline as much as possible (although Hollywood is known to embellish certain events). Spotlight highlighted the deeper truth of the level of psychological trauma brought on by abuse, not just to the victims, but also the Catholic Church attorneys that represented the priest in the child sex abuse scandals. The movie ended with the story of the church abuse finally being exposed in the media for all to see. That was perhaps the best part of the movie because the people involved in the cover-up (reporters and attorneys that represented the priest) took some of the blame for allowing the abuse to continue by not doing their journalistic duties or as an attorney, hiding behind the notion that they were just doing their job by representing their client.

The Spotlight team cast members are: editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), and three reporters, Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matty Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James). John Slattery plays Globe managing deputy editor Ben Bradlee Jr.

Spotlight is a movie full of drama and suspense. There is not a boring moment in the movie.


PatriciaDicksonPatricia Dickson blogs at Patricia’s Corner.
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One Response to Movie Review: Spotlight

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I notice that you consistently use the singular “priest”. Was there only one in Boston, at least in this story? I know that there were quite a large number overall, partly a result of a ring of homosexuals in many (not all) Catholic seminaries a few decades back.

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