Movie Review: Spotlight


Movie Details: refer here
Rated R-16: For sensitive theme


The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

What we think of the film?

Acting = (4/5)

In control, that is how I would sum up the acting of all performers in this movie. It is so easy to go overboard especially with such a controversial topic as a church scandal to work with. For me, this is just perfect so as not to deviate from the more important task of understanding the sensitive issue which is being asked to be digested by the audience.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards has in fact awarded them with the "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" recognition for 2016 and that is something I find deserving. It takes mastery of the craft for a group of actors to produce a cohesive result. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are both nominated for "Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role" at the Academy Awards. Again, no objection there on my end.

Production Value and Cinematography = (4/5)

Cinematography is clean and uncomplicated, again just the right fit for the movie referred to by some as "journalism drama". I read in one article that keeping the movie interesting was an initial concern thus the need to make some cuts. Obviously, subtlety worked just fine for Spotlight and it did not have to resort to unfitting compromises.

It is a given that people who watch movies look for entertainment. Sensational effects, fast-paced action, or drama overload certainly are usual ingredients for it. However, one has to know when such is not applicable. Fortunately, the people behind this movie knows exactly the direction they want to take.

Story, Dialogues and Flow = (4/5)

The story starts clearly enough with a scene showing what appears to be a representative from the higher clergy talking to a mother who was with her children. The dialogue between two policemen after the Assistant DA walks in requesting to keep it down for press inquiries quickly put the matter in perspective. That is, this case will never go to trial.

From there (1970s), the story fast forwarded to a more recent time when the new editor of the Boston Globe asked the Spotlight group to look further into a story they did several years before about a priest molesting a child. Every scene thereafter fell into place to narrate the story of the investigation they did and the surprising discovery, not even they were prepared to get. This movie might prove boring for some because of the extensive dialogue. In this case however, there can be no other way if one is to tackle the topic properly. The flow is as cohesive as the performance of the actors.

Ending, Originality and Story Fulfillment = (4/5)

It took a lot of guts to tell this story which it claims to be based on truth. The movie was able to present what has already transpired with regards to what is being done to resolve the issue. While some earlier movies may have alluded to allegations of wrongdoings committed by members of the Catholic clergy, nothing is as straightforward as this. 

Like in all stories with topics of unresolved issues, no specific closure is offered by the movie. In fact, it leaves a hanging question to the audience. Being a devout Catholic myself, I initially feared that I will be seeing a movie that will just criticize the faith which I believe in. Thankfully, there was nothing of such sort although it poses a real challenge to the Catholic Church to respond accordingly.

Overall Evaluation = (4/5)

I found this movie very enlightening, putting a very controversial topic in its proper perspective. The problem has always been there - people of authority, whether they are priests, teachers, government officials, and even parents, taking advantage of the weak and the young. It is begging for a solution especially when it has become systemic.

Because of this and the professional way the sensitive topic has been handled, I give my thumbs up to the movie. However, I would advise parents who will allow their teen children to watch this, to guide them lest they misunderstand some parts of the movie. A movie that leaves me thinking of what can still be done is always a good movie because then I will know that it struck a chord in me.

This movie was reviewed by Teresa Martinez who maintains several blogs including her main blog TereSay

1 comment:

  1. Seen this movie...great investigational approach. It deserves to win.