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Oscars Challenge #29: Spotlight (2015) Movie Review

Spotlight movie poster

Going into this movie after watching Going My Way or vice versa is really a weird feeling. Those two showed different kinds of reality

However, this movie is more important and mind-blowing. Watching this made me sick to my stomach but at the same time had me realizing something very important, that everyone's not as holy as you think they are. Even if they are the one that establishes the system.

Plus, this is a true story and should be told to everyone.

This movie starts off with a new managing director, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) in The Boston Globe, an American newspaper company meets with the leader and editor of the Spotlight investigative team, Robby (Michael Keaton). They discussed an article that the company published about a certain lawyer who knew that the Archbishop of Boston had some knowledge of one of his priests being involved in sexual abuse and did nothing to stop it. He ordered the Spotlight team to do an investigation. Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), one of the journalists in the Spotlight team, contacts the lawyer who initially declined to be interviewed. During their investigation, they found out that several priests were moved to new assignments many times. They started to uncover that there are many patterned sexual abuse cases that had happened in several states or cities in America and were covered up by the Boston Archdiocese. A whistleblower and the leader of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) gave them a tip to more priests that are involved. One of the former priests they interviewed told them that at least 90 priests were doing those horrendous activities. They soon talk to the victims and start unvovering more about the case. One of the journalists had one in his neighborhood and wrote a sign to prevent his children to approach the house. Another journalist, Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) found herself having difficulties going to church with her grandmother who is a devout catholic. Their investigation was delayed due to the 2001 September attacks. When everything was settled, they continued on to their story and found more pieces of evidence that are publicly available that point to the Cardinal being aware of the abuse and doing nothing to prevent it. They soon wrote the story and published it. The movie ends when Robby and Michael arrive at the Boston Globe and noticed that there was almost no one in the office. He soon was shocked when he found out that they are getting calls non-stop from several victims who are now not afraid to speak up.

Meeting at the Boston Globe

There was also a piece of textual information that around 105 U.S. communities and 101 countries around the world had the same scandal in that priests were involved.

First and foremost, this is a movie that is a must-see not because it is enjoyable to watch or had some incredible action moments but because of its importance. Not only to Christians or Catholics but really everyone no matter what religion you belong to. It is one of those that even though a few years passed its story must still be told.

I absolutely love the film from start to end. It had several gut-wrenching moments that make you hook up immediately. I also like that this film had the right kind of emotional moments that lets you feel what the characters are feeling. And to be honest, I really feel sick, mad, and angry. Not because of the message of the film, or because I am a Catholic but in my life, priests or anything that represents holiness should not be a part of something as horrible as sexual abuse. It's like monsters hiding in nice clothes, giving preaches and everything. I mean, it really feels sick to my stomach that they allowed such a horrible thing to happen right when they are preaching goodness.

Robby and Sacha investigating

The actors who played on the Spotlight team were picked beautifully. Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d'Arcy James all had individual moments that made them shine. I mean they played their roles accordingly.

The film had several historical inaccuracies. I did a sort of research on some so here's what I found out. The film only showed the events up to the first publication. In reality, there were a few more after that. When Matt Carroll, one of Spotlight's journalists found out that one of the priests was living nearby, that was actually John Geoghan. In the movie, it was a different one but the gist is there nonetheless.

Interviewing a victim

A fun fact, Vatican Radio acknowledged the film for being honest and that it made some realizations about the church's wrongdoings. Even a Vatican City commission attended a private screening of this film. This just shows you the importance of this movie.

I certainly do not view this film as an attack on Catholic churches or priests or ways of belief. Nor do I see it as propaganda material to spread hate to Catholics or Christians. I view this movie as a way to understand more that sometimes it is not the people who are wrong but those that control the system. Those who have the power in their hands can sometimes be used for abuse and we don't like that. I mean nobody really wants something to be abused right?

Oh, and yes, this is not a nice film I mean perspective-wise. If you are really a devout Christian or don't want to open your mind to other possibilities then this is not for you. Nobody in his or her right state of mind wants to learn something bad about what he or she wants to believe. But it is good to learn once in a while about what's really wrong in our world. It makes you question what is right and what is wrong.

Spotlight team meeting

What's real is real no matter how beautiful or ugly it is. We cannot deny the fact that no one is perfect and cannot commit sin.

A really compelling and powerful movie.

A pretty solid 4.5 out of 5 stars for me.

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