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Movie Review: Spotlight

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“Break the story. Break the silence.” In 2002, this is exactly what the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team did. In 2015, the story was made into an incredible film. Just this past Sunday, Spotlight took home the Oscar for Best Picture. Having not seen the film yet, but having heard so highly of other best picture nominees such as The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, I was quite surprised to hear the results. Now, having just finished the film minutes ago, I understand why Spotlight won, and why this may be this past year’s best film.

To begin with, the film has an amazing cast that makes the audience feel as if these were the real Boston Globe reporters. Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, and Rachael McAdams make up the four person investigative Spotlight team. The film begins with the team following a case that they are not excited about. After a new editor joins the newspaper, play by Leiv Schreiber, the team is encouraged to investigate a scandal involving the Catholic Church and sexual abuse of minors. The team begins to investigate, and instantly red flags begin popping up. Horrifying stories from sexual abuse survivors, and evidence showing the Church as turning away from admitting wrong doing are just some of the very first pieces of information the team uncover. They begin by looking at thirteen suspected pedophile priests, but quickly are looking at 87 priests. Two things I should mention here: the 87 priests mentioned are just in Boston alone, and film is based on a true story. The plot pretty much continues as would be expected, more of the story is uncovered. This film had me on edge, as every new scene brought forward new information, and every new bit was just as intense as the last. I enjoyed how the movie played out like an investigation, as the real investigation did. The acting was amazing, each character bringing different important information forward, and aiding to the investigation. For me though, Spotlight’s biggest accomplishment was telling a controversial, important, true story and telling it convincingly.

This movie was truly saddening and inspiring. I felt inspired by thinking of how these reporters in real life actually did these things, and told a story they weren’t supposed to. They spoke up for the victims, who in the film were portrayed to have no voice. I felt the victims were portrayed very convincingly too, and their stories were important. One story in which a victim explained that these assaults were not only physical, but also spiritual, affecting his religious beliefs, stood out as an important moment in the film to me. The biggest reason I enjoyed Spotlight was because it told an extremely important story, and I think this is why it won best picture. Last year’s best picture winner, Birdman, was an amazing film I deeply enjoyed, however in comparison this film told a real story that was very provocative. Also, I mention Birdman because that film too starred Michael Keaton as the lead, and I think this was by far his better film.

Spotlight is an incredible film, and quite honestly one of the most important best picture winners in recent memory. I totally recommend the film, and I think a lot of people should watch it and have a conversation about the films story. Also, the film does not attack religion in any way. If anything, the movie portrays religion in a positive light, saying that religion should be a safe place where people, especially children, should feel safe and not be at risk of sexual abuse. This film was about newspaper reporters and how they worked, to speak out on a horrific problem in our country. I recommend Spotlight, and think it is an essential movie, that will leave viewers shocked, amazed and thinking about how four reporters “broke the silence.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Movie Review: Spotlight”

  1. Chris Genest on March 3rd, 2016 9:36 pm

    Great review on this controversial movie. Your conclusion and final comments were expressed in a mature and factual context. This review will encourage other young readers to see this movie.

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Movie Review: Spotlight