Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight (2015)

There's an elegant symmetry with films based around journalism; as the characters build up their story we share their knowledge as it is learned, allowing us to feel part of the same team as we uncover misdemeanours with them.

However, journalism films are also a very difficult watch as they deal with often very sensitive topics. In Spotlight we are taken back to the 2002 Catholic Archdiocese of Boston sex abuse scandal and the investigation published by The Boston Globe. Its subject matter is deeply unsettling; even more so when it is considered that while there is some artistic license, it is a generally accurate representation of the events of less than 20 years ago.

The term "spotlight" comes from the investigative journalism team in The Boston Globe and they are  Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) and headed by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton). They are charged by new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), to undercover the reasons behind why a priest who had been accused of child abuse was being moved between parishes rather than being struck off.

Where Spotlight really shines is that is does not hold back in the testimonies, with its - rightful - insistence that the survivors go into more graphic detail rather than using collective terms such as "molested". And, it continues to build, never seeming unable to find more levels to shock you on.

Similarly there is never a preaching righteousness about what the paper was doing was for "the right reasons". There is an admission that, throughout all elements of society, we are all responsible in some way for turning a blind eye.

Overall, gripping and unrelenting - a worthy Academy Award winner.

5 stars


  1. Interesting. I’m glad there’s the nuanced view in it. I was always hesitant to watch it because I assumed there wasn’t.

  2. Spotlight was one of the few recent Best Picture winners I didn't particularly care for. That was probably because I'd really wanted Mad Max: Fury Road to win that year though. LOL.


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