Spotlight on Abuse

By Amanda Clark.

The Oscar-winning best picture, Spotlight, chronicles the true story of the discovery of priest molestation by the Boston Globe investigative Spotlight team.

Along with best picture, Spotlight also won an Oscar for best original screenplay by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer.

The cast is headed by Mark Ruffalo, best supporting actor nominee, Rachel McAdams, best supporting actress nominee, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James, and John Slattery.

The movie follows the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, a group of four investigative reporters, and their uncovering of years of assault against children in Boston by members of the clergy. Additionally, the reporters discovered that this scandal had been covered up all along from the highest levels of the Church.

In July 2001, the new editor of the Boston Globe, Marty Baron, pressed the Spotlight team to further investigate a previous article that accused one priest, Father John J. Geoghan of abuse against young men.

The real Walter Robinson, portrayed in the movie by Michael Keaton said, “There were many, many other priests, we thought perhaps 15 or 20 at the time, who had done the same thing …In the end, it turned out to be almost 250 priests in Boston who had molested children over several decades.”

The investigation lead to a clash between journalists and the very powerful Catholic Church in Boston, especially when the Boston Globe sued them in order to release previously sealed documents that were imperative to their research.

Spotlight has been praised for staying true to the real events that took place in the early 2000s.

While the film has been criticized by some for being too mundane and riddled with overly simplistic scenes of the daily workings of the journalists, other critics say that the straightforward cinematography emphasizes the importance of the subject at hand.

Watching the journalists uncover these crimes by tediously sorting through records of clergy members and previous newspaper clippings, harassing various lawyers, and interviewing victims and offenders allows the viewer to experience the investigation as it really took place.

Many viewers have drawn obvious comparisons between Spotlight and the 1976 movie, All the President’s Men. Both films showcase the tedious and intensive work of journalists uncovering two of the largest scandals in history.

According to the critic consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, “Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its face-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects.”

Spotlight is a thrilling, emotional movie for anyone interested in the inner workings of a pressing journalistic investigation.

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