Movie Review: Spotlight


I'm going to be honest and say Spotlight probably deserves a better rating than the one I'm giving it - it's a great movie, however, it's also very slow, which caused me to lose interest at some points throughout the film. The film focuses on the Boston Globe and how they uncovered a scandal within the Catholic Church back in 2001, and I didn't know much about the scandal beforehand, so I found the subject matter to be very interesting.

The "Spotlight" team at the Boston Globe gets to handpick scandals and cover-ups that they believe are important to expose. The team consists of Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), as the leader; Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo); Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) as the reporters. The Boston Globe has a new boss, however, named Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), and he wants Spotlight to focus on a scandal in the Catholic Church - one of the Globe columnists had briefly covered it, but Baron thinks that the scandal goes deeper. Spotlight soon finds out the scandal is actually huge, and they investigate the case until they find what they had been looking for: Six percent of the clergy in the Catholic Church in each city have molested their young parishioners, which, in the city of Boston, amounts to 90 priests.

I have, of course, heard about the church's troubles before - it's hard not to know about - but this movie was definitely an eyeopener. The cast was great - you have Ruffalo, McAdams, James, Keaton, Schreiber, and more, including John Slattery as another Globe employee and Stanley Tucci as a lawyer who has been representing some of the church's victims. The film unfolds slowly, and reminded me of a Law & Order episode at times, minus the TV drama. I also enjoyed seeing Boston on screen - I lived in Massachusetts until I was five years old, and most of my family still lives on the East Coast; my mother used to work at a building next to one of the courthouses seen in the movie, as well.

Yes, see this film, but it's one that you can see on DVD or at a matinee, because of its slowness. It's one that everyone should see, at some point, because it covers an important issue; even though the investigating done by the Spotlight team took place over 2001-2002, it's an issue that's pervasive even now, in 2015. I don't claim to know anything about the Catholic Church, but I can imagine that they won't be happy with this film, as it portrays them (their priests, and de facto, them) in a negative light; however, it doesn't spotlight (no pun intended) anything new or groundbreaking, either. I'd recommend this movie for everyone, although it is rated R (mostly for language, with some graphic descriptions), so you might want to wait a few years before showing it to your teenager, if you have one.

Spotlight is in theaters today, November 20th, and is rated R with a runtime of 128 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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