Movie Review: Spotlight

Photo via KPBS

By Abbie Doyle, Editorial Director

[First Look Media; 2015]

Rating: 4/5

To be blunt, Spotlight is incredible from its start. Never mind the gripping story, the pristine acting, the tension and the forward progression that’s both awe-inspiring and nausea-inducing--even the set design is flawless!

The true events that unfold within Spotlight occurred less than 15 years ago (2002 to be exact), which doesn’t sound significant until you consider how quickly American culture evolves. Cell phones, computer monitors, women’s clothing style and the simple use of pen and paper--they appear as 13 huge steps backward in time. The crux of the movie itself--the occurrence of pedophilic behavior by Roman Catholic priests--is a well-known fact in 2015, but in 2002 made international headlines and shocked the world.

Well, “shocked” could be considered subjective. As Spotlight evidences, Bostonians were well aware of the whispered secrets that surrounded some of the city’s thousands of priests. The film takes a carefully angled, unflinching look into the many facets of predatory relationships between Catholic priests and young boys, not just in Boston but on a global scale. The emotional impact dealt by Spotlight is serious, despite how frequently (and how nervously) laughs might erupt from the audience.

The psychological probing on the matter of Roman Catholic pedophilia is a crucial element of Spotlight’s strength, not only from the survivors’ perspectives but for the journalists uncovering the story as well. The movie is carved with extreme emotional finesse; the fact Spotlight took over a decade to appear in theaters shows a true delicacy toward the subject on the production company’s part.

Investigative journalism is the ultimate champion of Spotlight, and the strength of this profession is portrayed so humbly it is tear-jerking. The Boston Globe’s investigative unit unearthed a truth that desperately needed to be publicized, and director Tom McCarthy and his crew have created a beautiful, emotionally abled retelling of this profound moment in history.

#abbiedoyle #spotlight #moviereview

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