Just Been Watching…(111)

Spotlight (2015)
***A true story, so spoilers do not apply***

Another film I am late to, one that got huge praise from critics and viewers at the time.

This looks at the real-life events surrounding a famous investigation by a team of reporters working at The Boston Globe newspaper, around 2001. The ‘Spotlight’ team are tasked by a new editor to expand their research into allegations of historical sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston area. They are told to take it all the way up to include the church hierarchy, including the powerful Cardinal Law.

Initially looking into the actions of a dozen or more priests since 1976, it soon becomes clear that almost one hundred priests were involved in this sex scandal, and that their crimes were covered up by not only the Catholic Church, but also by some police officers, and influential lawyers. They expose the corrupt system of pay-offs to victims, and the way that the guilty priests were moved around, or given long-term leave.

Many people conspire to obstruct the investigation. Records are ‘lost’, others sealed, and the team members become frustrated when they can get few victims to cooperate, and no help from any of the former perpetrators. The dogged reporters will not be put off, and put their own lives on hold as they work all hours, and travel around to demand access to paperwork, or try to get statements from those involved. Despite finding out that some of their own friends had stayed silent after being abused, and the team receiving threats from influential people in Boston, they keep going until the story is finally published.

I thought that this was an excellent film. Despite being very ‘wordy’, and having lots of characters to keep track of, it is never confusing or dull. And even though I knew the outcome before the film started, the tension stayed with me throughout. The locations are authentic, and the casting near perfect. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, and Rachel McAdams are completely convincing as three of the journalists, and the campaigning lawyer who steers them with tips in the background. The script is sharp and realistic, and even though the subject matter is potentially distressing, none of the actual abuse is ever featured, or even discussed in detail.

A satisfyingly intelligent film, and very relevant in the 21st century.

49 thoughts on “Just Been Watching…(111)

  1. I saw it recently Pete and I still think about it. Boston is only the tip of the iceburg as to this scandal. There are many Native children who are also victims of Catholic priests and nuns.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I read a powerful book about the Australian part of this story. Cardinal Pell is now on prison for his own personal abuses but I hope people understand that this was a systemic problem and a systemic abuse of power.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent film that showcased the passion and dedication of the team to bring this appalling story to light and ensure that it wasn’t swept under the carpet. Wonderfully acted.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Terrific review Pete, I haven’t yet seen this film, but my parents have and they said it was definitely well worth the watch. (But even if they had not watched it, your review would have convinced me) That..and both Stanley Tucci and Mark Ruffalo being in it, is also a reason for me to check this one out😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you so much Pete, for recommending this film. It can trigger, and its in parts horrible, and unbelievable too. Since some years i am investigating similar things here in Germany. Only some “special contacts” prevented me beeing treated like them. I am also quite vindictive, especially if it is the Roman Catholic Church that wants to harm me once again. Then I feel like many Anglicans. Lol Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  5. this was a bit of a surprise as Best Picture, because it wasn’t as flashy as “The Martian”, “The Revenant” or “The Big Short” – but it’s a fascinating detective story, as these reporters solve the puzzle of lies of a deceit that were covered up for decades…a sad, compelling story…nice review Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an excellent film and an essential story. Have you seen Deliver Us from Evil? It is a documentary about one of the true stories behind the film. It was even more compelling than Spotlight, to me anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, WB. I recorded it when it was shown on the BBC. It was much better than I had expected it to be, despite the familiar theme of reporters up against the system.
      Best wishes, Pete.


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