Spotlight Movie Review
Every now and again, a film comes along that is so compelling and impactful that I lose my awareness of every detail involved to create the masterful work. I cannot express the magnitude in which SPOTLIGHT affected me. It is the rare film that is both emotionally unsettling and inspirationally moving.
Based on the true story about how the Boston Globe uncovered the child molestation scandal within the Catholic Church. Starting with one priest that expanded to roughly ninety in the Massachusettes area, a special investigative reporting team called ‘Spotlight’ unravel a horrific cover up that expands throughout and to the top of the Catholic Church Organization.
Making up the core team of Spotlight is Michael Keaton as Walter Robinson, Mark Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer, and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carrol. Along with their two boss and editor played by Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron and John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., these six characters make up the journalists who are not sensationalized but even take on the weight of overlooking claims that have been gathering up for years. They all are afflicted differently, but their discovery is the true focus of the film. Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup show up in terrific supporting roles and as a whole the all-star cast is perfect. But I think the biggest compliment I can pay to everyone involved in the film is how I did not notice the work. Much like 1976’s ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, SPOTLIGHT’s story and execution is so captivating that I was completely immersed into the storytelling. Without emotional gimmicks or musical cues and focusing strictly on the investigative reporting rather than the heinous acts of child molestation, SPOTLIGHT is able to encompass the massive story in a much more effective and affecting manner.
The impact of SPOTLIGHT doesn’t come from flashy visuals or a grand performance scene, but simply following a team of journalists uncovering an enormous secret through researching paper work and interviews. Doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Director and writer Tom McCarthy, who has written and directed lesser known great works such as WIN WIN, THE VISITOR, and THE STATION AGENT, and helped create the story of Pixar’s UP, co-wrote the screenplay with Josh Singer. McCarthy has created his best work by perfectly executing what might sound like a difficult film on paper and bringing it to riveting life on screen with an appearance of ease.
Like any great reporting, the film doesn’t take a political or religious stance, but simply tells the truth behind these awful events. There isn’t a word that can properly describe just how horrendous child molestation is, and so the simple knowledge of the act is enough to disturb people to the core. I’m thankful for the film’s awareness, as the gravitas of these despicable events are carried throughout the film without the unnecessary actions.
A gauntlet of emotions that would have INSIDE OUT spinning in circles, SPOTLIGHT tore my heart in many different facets. As a person, I am devastated at the physical and emotional scars that will be left on these innocent victims. As a father, I am angry and scared for my own child of these things happening in an environment that I expect to be safe, especially from a group whose number one priority is to save lives through their faith. As a Christian, I am saddened by the spiritual damage to the victims who may now turn away from God’s loving grace. As a writer, I am inspired to improve, making a positive difference in lives in any way possible.
Affecting change for the better, SPOTLIGHT not only brings light to gruesome events that destroy lives physically, emotionally and spiritually, but hopefully will make a difference within individuals to help those in need. Outside of being masterfully executed, SPOTLIGHT is an important film that impacted me deeply and is easily one of the best movies of the year.