At The Movies: Spotlight

Yes, yes, I know. “Where’s my ‘Hunger Games’ review? Why haven’t you posted a ‘Hunger Games’ review? How can I go to the finale without reading if I should or not?”

Sorry. I had another commitment and missed the screening. I’ll probably catch it this weekend at the new place in Wentzville and maybe I’ll post something over the weekend.

Meanwhile, instead of reviewing the movie you’re going to see this weekend, I’m going to talk about the movie you should go see.

Directed by Thomas McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer, “Spotlight” is a gripping examination of The Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal. The newspaper won a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for its efforts. The film will probably garner some awards as well.

2B89064B00000578-0-image-a-25_1440115471750As the film opens, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber in a very sedate performance) has just been named the new editor at the Globe. He’s single, Jewish and an outsider in the heavily Catholic town of Boston.

Perhaps his outsider status is the reason Baron is the only person in the morning meeting who feels a lawsuit involving allegations of sexual abuse by a local priest is worth looking into. He assigns the case to the newspaper’s “Spotlight” team of investigative journalists.  The quartet consists of editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) and reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James). They report to editor Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery).

The constantly twitchy, clearly driven Rezendes is given the difficult task of trying to get assistance from Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), attorney for the alleged victim. The rest of the team will face their own challenges.

What follows is a fascinating and compelling tale as the reporters methodically, tirelessly work their sources and do their research. As the story explodes far beyond a single case of abuse, the pressure to get it right and get it out there becomes as great as the outside pressure to shut it down.

“Spotlight” is one of the year’s best films. It takes a difficult topic and handles it with tact. The ensemble cast is excellent. Ruffalo is the standout but everyone is terrific.

Remember when journalism was a respectable profession? Neither do I, but “Spotlight” serves to remind us that every so often, newspapers can do a good thing.









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