A Light on ‘Spotlight’

Directed by Tom McCarthy and starring proven actors such as  Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci, Spotlight won the biggest movie prize in Hollywood; Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars, among many other awards. 

Spotlight Summary

‘Spotlight’ came out in 2015 and is a movie that focuses on The Boston Globe’s team of journalists that wrote about the numerous Roman Catholic priests in America who sexually abused children. Additionally, it’s also a movie about how amazing journalism can triumph. The Spotlight team of journalists, consisting of Michael Rezendes, Walter Robinson, Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carroll, Marty Baron, and Ben Bradlee Jr, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 through shinning a light on the abuse and its perpetrators. 

Directed by Tom McCarthy and starring proven actors such as  Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci, Spotlight won the biggest movie prize in Hollywood; Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars, among many other awards. 


How the Movie Portrays the Crimes

Utilizing the Boston setting, Spotlight delves into the real life consequences of molestation. Though nothing graphic, the actors that portray the survivors telling the stories can be very hard to listen to at times. However, watching and listening feels important because of the fact that some people lived it and no one did anything about it until much later on. 

The town itself feels alive, as we see everyday people going on about their lives while sort of in the background, the Catholic Church uses its far-reaching power and their societal favorable position to hurt kids. Mark Ruffalo (portraying real life journalist Michael Rezendes) says in the movie “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one”. Clearly stating that there were not just “one or two bad apples” as the Church would say, but that a lot of people were in on it with Cardinal Bernard Law leading the way. 

What started with the investigation of one priest soon after turned to 70 and later into hundreds in Boston alone. Father Geoghan, with whom the investigation started, solely molested more than 150 children over three decades. In fact, the Church had put him in charge of altar boys even after knowing that he had been abusing children for thirty years. 

The stakes for “The Globe” were high at the time because of the enormous influence of the Church in Boston. The Spotlight reporters needed to prove without a shadow of a doubt that this really had happened otherwise the Church would have buried the information away. 


The First Article and the “Consequences”

After the investigation article was published on January 6th, 2002, the entire day the reporters did nothing but respond to phone calls by other survivors. When watching the movie, especially if you don’t know the story very well, you will feel a lot of emotions. From tearing up to full on raging with emotion, the helplessness of the situation and the fact that no one did much of anything to help survivors. 

You may be wondering about the consequences that followed, or where the perpetrators of these crimes are at now. Well, Cardinal Bernard Law, who knew about the abuses and did nothing, about two years after resigning from his post in 2002 Pope John Paul II appointed him Archpriest of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. This if anything made sure Cardinal Law was NOT held accountable because this meant he had Vatican citizenship. He died on December 17th, 2017 having lived through a very peaceful retirement in Rome. 


The Movie’s Success

The film itself is an absolute masterpiece in film-making, with incredible story telling tools being employed from beginning to end. 

By use of its incredible actors who are very quiet yet demonstrative at times in showing the shocked and horrified emotions that come from such situations. The soundtrack alone takes this to heights that most films would never even dream to reach. A very powerful and subdued note that pulls right on the heart strings of the viewer. It has a sort of natural feel that utilizes everyday life while portraying these incredible journalists at work. They are very much affected by what they’re writing about, but they care to get to the truth because that’s ultimately what matters to them. The performances in this movie should not be underestimated because the movie absolutely rests on the actors’ shoulders. 

If you want to see what real journalism looks like and what the first worldwide viral investigatory piece looks like, watch this movie and be inspired. These journalists have left a huge mark in history with their great journalistic work and everyone should thank them for it. 


Picture: Boston Globe

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