The brutally honest true story of how a team of investigative journalists unveiled an abusive pedophilia scandal and coverup orchestrated by Catholic priests in the city of Boston that even stretched to Southie thus leading to a scandal all over America and the world. The season is summer and the year is 2001, just before 9/11. The Boston Globe welcomes in a new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) who is curious to know why abusive and child-molesting Catholic priests have gone unpunished avoiding scorn and even criminal justice.
So he sets the Globe’s investigative Spotlight team onto the story. This is spearheaded by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) and includes passionate and emotional Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) with Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams). In a six month period, they put a case together carefully and diligently. They piece together a case of harsh and brutally honest truth about a well-planned, well-orchestrated cover-up of child sex abuse that has gone on for decades. It’s an audacious journalistic investigation that goes on to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Corruption has been at the forefront of many minds these past years. It’s a word that has been in the media a lot of late and for good reason. We live in a cruel world and many are willing to do whatever it takes to win regardless of morality and ethics. People are willing to throw their integrity in the trash for commodity items like cash but in this movie, it’s corruption in the Catholic Church. They molested and raped children. The whole community knew about it and did nothing. The lawyers knew about it. The politicians knew it. Even the cops knew about it. Boston has a high Catholic population but religion is a following that binds people together, despite color, creed, gender or sexual orientation. Belief in God is what keeps many people going. It helps people to get through life. It gives many hope and the idea that life isn’t so bad.
Everybody knows journalists are the ones who ask the hard questions. Investigative journalists ask the even harder questions. Journalists are the thorn on a rose-bush. Investigative journalists are the whole damn rose-bush with all the thorns. The team is poking their noses where they don’t belong, trying to dig up dirt on Boston’s degenerative clergy. The hypocrisy of the priests in this movie isn’t even laughable. It’s downright disgusting and fucking unthinkable. These are members of our society who we thought were the ones who couldn’t be bought or corrupted. They were supposed to be society’s soul; untainted but they have blackened their souls with infidelity, and broken their vows of celibacy thus the molestation and rape of children abusing their power and influence to quench their thirst of despicable needs.
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers) delivers a truly heartwarming performance. His character is from Boston so this is personal to him and he really gets passionate and animated in the role when the big boss wants to take down the system rather than the Catholic Church themselves as what was first thought out when they first started this case. They were ready to sue the Catholic Church until they saw the bigger picture. Many of the employees of the Globe are from Boston and this case means something to all of them. What’s more is that the guilty walk free. The Church is too big to take down. The Church is on our streets, in our homes and to take down a corrupt establishment like that, would mean taking down many people’s will to live. The whole establishment isn’t bad, just a small sector.
Michael Keaton (Birdman), Rachel McAdams (True Detective), Liev Schreiber (X-Men) and John Slattery (Ant-Man) give great performances with addition of Stanley Tucci (Hunger Games) as Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer of many victims and Billy Crudup (Stanford Prison Experiment) as Eric Macleish, the lawyer of the Church. He did not care as long as he got paid, truly a nasty piece of work who soon wiped that smug grin off his face when Keaton put him in his place and he soon caved. Keaton’s performance was excellent and very inspirational, as was McAdams’.
I have to be honest, you should know what you’re getting yourself into before embarking on this movie. Once you’ve watched it, there is no going back. It’s seriously grim and depressing with the high point being only at the end when they oust these bastards to the public. It confirms already established cynicisms about The Church but it’s the ‘should be’ pure people of our world taking advantage of the innocent and the other group of ‘should be’ pure people, relieving children of their innocence. It’s soul-destroying stuff. I’d only recommend going to see this movie if you think you can take a movie like this as it deals with these themes as controversial yet brutally honest as they are. Nobody publicly opposes the church. People who oppose this establishment tend to get socially discriminated against in their communities. The Church has some serious pull on people and to oppose them is seen as a moral crime in itself. What can the Church tell us or morality when members of their order are doing things like this?
In conclusion, I loved the movie despite its unsavory concept on the backdrop of Boston. It’s grim, serious, with a few happy moments and great performances from every member of the main and supporting cast but also great writing and direction, no wonder it’s been hit with six Oscar nominations including direction and screenplay as well as Best Picture and I wouldn’t be disappointed if it won all three.