Nominated for six awards at this year’s Oscars, Spotlight is a film that from the opening moments feels important.
If follows the team of journalists and editors from the Boston Globe who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning local investigation into systemic child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
Filmed in the vein of classic investigative journalism movie All the President’s Men, Spotlight lets the true story speak for itself and authentically portrays the journalistic process.
The film begins when new editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber in a pleasingly understated performance) asks his Spotlight investigative team to look more closely at a local priest charged with abusing children.
The Spotlight team – editor Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton) and reporters Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) – soon uncovers that sex abuse within the Catholic Church in Boston is far more extensive than they ever imagined.
The film is completely based on fact, which makes it that much harder for the audience to bear the devastating realities.
Molestation victims share their stories with the team and every detail just adds to the devastation, the real-life horror that strips away the audience’s faith in humanity.
More than anything, the film highlights the bravery of the survivors that spoke out, that put their private pain, their loss of innocence in the hands of the public and asked that it be acknowledged and swept under the rug no longer.
Directed with subtlety by Tom McCarthy, Spotlight doesn’t make make heroes of its reporters, but shows them as simply doing their jobs.
The actors all let the story, not their own performances, be the driving force of the film and Spotlight is the better for it.
This team was dogged in its journalistic duty to inform the public of the massive scandal being covered up by those in positions of great power, and knowing that they had made a difference to the survivors’ lives was the only result they needed.
Spotlight, like Schindler’s List and Hotel Rwanda before it, is the type of film that needs to be watched.
Spotlight is rated M.