Summary: Spotlight is big screen "true story" of the investigative reporting team that uncovered the systemic coverup of sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in the Boston archdiocese. This film is unflinching and powerful, while remaining emotionally responsible. The best film of 2015.
Full Review: While I was aware (through the TV news) of the scandal that had taken place in the early 2000s regarding the Roman Catholic church and molestation of children by it's priests, I did not know how the story came to light and how it had been investigated. This movie is the brilliantly directed effort to tell that story. With one of the best acting crews in the last 5 years Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci engulf this story with passion and credibility. Each cast member rings honest and no character is turned into a faultless hero.
With horrific material details surrounding this script, it would have been easy to think the movie would have spun out recklessly on the intensity of the emotional aspect of this controversy. But writer/director Tom McCarthy (and co-writer Josh Singer) keep a disciplined hand on the script, refusing to discredit the power of this narrative by suffusing lurid details of the individual cases. Instead, the cases are represented by a few powerful interviews and the remainder of the film centers around the painstaking efforts of the Boston Globe's Spotlight team (investigative reporting group) to discover the details, perceive the dark pattern of abuse, and correlate an understanding of an even darker delusion within the Catholic Church hierarchy to cover up the evil deeds of its priests.
The acting, the script, the directing and the cinematography are all perfectly done. On a topic that deserves the very best from our creative community, it received a stellar achievement from McCarthy and his cast.
That said, for parents thinking of taking their children, they should be aware that there is some instances of strong language in this film and some brief but painfully descriptive dialog of sexual abuse. There are no graphic scenes or re-enactments, no nudity and no violence. But the topic and its nature are not shied away from. I would recommend that no child under 13 should be allowed to see this movie. The flim deserves the R rating for the subject material that underpins it.
This film just made wide release this last weekend, and I saw no advertising for it. Do not let that stop you. See this film. If you decide you will see one movie this year, Spotlight should be it.
Review by Kim Gentes