Working for the Spotlight section of the Boston Globe, suspicion is raised regarding the Catholic church and its clergy’s engagement with children. With a new editor in-chief who initially struggles with the investigation and the time it is taking, he eventually supports the groups investigation and judicial action to uncover important documents. The more the group digs into the controversy, the more they discover about how far-reaching the problem goes just within the bounds of the Boston area. The cover-up clearly runs deeper than the church’s masking of just a priest or two, which puts the team in danger of both violence against them as well as criticism for going after the Catholic church.
All-Star Cast, All-Star Drama: This is the type of movie that certainly gets a lot of attention. Taking on such a controversial topic requires getting the right cast to tell the story. Mark Ruffalo has proven himself able to take on some of the most challenging of topics, including gay rights and mental illness. As Mike Rezendes, he taps into the dramatic engagement of a reporter going the extra mile for his story. Michael Keaton and Liev Schreiber help to provide that sense of leadership, while Rachel McAdams steps back for a supportive but contributive role.
Real Response from the Church: While the controversial nature of the film could have the Catholic church up in arms about putting their dirty laundry back into the forefront. Surprisingly, the response has been relatively positive, with the church acknowledging that their past mistakes in management were brought to the surface so they could deal with them. They essentially saw the film as a chance to repent for their sins and serve as a documentation to ensure that they would never let such a thing happen again.
Accountability is Central: Focusing in on the importance of uncovering the truth behind controversies, the interesting element with the Spotlight team was how they did not stop at just uncovering and reporting on the story. They brought big controversies to the forefront of public conversation and caused ripples in public action to take action against injustice. As they uncovered more about the church’s issues, they opened a hotline and worked to expand their reach to represent as many people as possible. They brought the church to public court of opinion and out of the shadows of their coverup.
Final Verdict: This was truly a wonderful cast and a gripping story told with clean direction. While it may seem a little heady as a fact-based back and forth, the topic was so important to US and religious history of the early 2000s.
Dan’s Rating: 4.5/5