Spotlight: Film Review

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I had heard brilliant things about Spotlight and Oscar nominations are hard to ignore so my expectations were high, but this still manages to substantially exceed them. I was totally blown away but this unbelievably true story.

Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian D’Arcy James make up the Spotlight section of The Boston Globe and they are in charge of the big, time-consuming investigations. The new editor Marty (Liev Schreiber) wants them to look into allegations that Cardinal Law, a high-up Roman Catholic priest, knew about sexual abuse against young children at the hands of his colleagues but he covered it up. They had previously identified several priests accused of molestation in general reporting over the years, but their 2001 investigation reveals the scope of the scandal is much wider than they could have ever imagined.

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As a reporter, I find films about journalism absolutely fascinating and the fact this is true is shocking and baffling. It is crazy that the priests got away with it for so long even though the victims spoke up – the Church system, legal system and press all managed to cover the extent of it up until the Globe team blew it wide open, earning themselves a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service (so deserved).

This sounds dull and heavy but it is not. Sure, it isn’t a bundle of laughs but it moves along at a rapid pace with new leads and avenues of investigation opening up all the time. The team get more and more involved and consumed by the project as it keeps expanding and expanding and they have many threads to tie together and verify. It is intense and you sometimes wonder if someone else in the Globe team has been responsible for previous cover-ups – I was suspicious of Ben (John Slattery) or lawyers played by Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup. I was also tense thinking that their investigation would be rumbled and their hard work would go to waste and the expose would never be published.

It is so shocking and upsetting listening to victims talk about what happened, especially as you know it’s true and it wasn’t just happening in Boston. The post script about the spread of sexual abuse by priests globally is upsetting and stayed with me afterwards.

The work these journalists undertook is insane and makes me feel unworthy of the journalist label! I don’t think if I could do what they did. I was awestruck and completely engrossed by this story – my body was tense as it headed to the finish and my concentration levels were next level. Terrific.

In cinemas Friday 

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