Review 56: Spotlight (2015)
Some kids play football in high school. Some join band, or theater. I was a journalist. I loved being a reporter so much I jumped into college without ever looking at the job market or the average salary. The idea of what a reporter can do with a pen and paper, fingers to the keyboard, or feet to the pavement had such an idealistic job. Spotlight, which has 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, reminded me of how I felt about journalism when I was a kid.
Spotlight is a true story about reporters of the Boston Globe uncovered a cover-up of child molestation within the local Catholic Archdiocese. The Spotlight team of the Globe works hard to find as much evidence to support these claims after new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), encourages them to pursue it.
The ensemble casts includes Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Billy Crudup, and more. All of the performances are strong. It’s hard to pick which one is stronger, but I really think Ruffalo and Tucci stood out. Their onscreen chemistry was interesting and the respect that each character develops for the other is inspiring.
This story spoke to me in a lot of ways. I wanted to be a reporter to make a difference by breaking the big story that opens the world to something they never knew. The idea of children being hurt bothers most people, and as a teacher and a parent the idea of harming a minor both infuriates me and disgusts me. No scene in any film has ever put so much emotion into me as the white and black text, which often follows a true story, depicted what states and countries had reports of molestation by the Catholic Church.
Tom McCarthy (who has directed The Cobbler, Win Win, and the Station Agent) is able to introduce such a serious topic in a way that isn’t entirely depressing. I mean, that’s probably what you’ll walk away with, but I felt a sense of inspiration and hope that something so bad and so ingrained can be removed. The depiction of this is best stated by Stanley Tucci when he said, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse them.” The characters in the film are human so there are moments of humor and camaraderie.
McCarthy’s ability to make normally mundane work elements feel action paced (giving credit to Tom McArdle who edited the film) is impressive. I’m not sure how much of that is my own passion for the type of work the characters were doing in the film, but I found even spreadsheets being filled out to be compelling with the cinematography and pacing in this film.
While 2015 brought us Pixels and Fantastic Four, It also brought us Room, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, and Spotlight to name a few. Spotlight has been one of my favorite films that I’ve seen this year and it earns a 10 out of 10 journalists!