Spotlight: ‘Church Allowed Abuse by Priests for Years

     On Jan. 6, 2002, the Boston Globe’s headlines put the Boston archdiocese in their spotlight: “Church Allowed Abuse by Priests for Years: Aware of Geoghan record, archdiocese still shuttled him from parish to parish.” This story was a shock to most, an indictment on others, and a voice for the victims.  

     Widespread and systemic child sex abuse was the biggest story since  9/11 for Boston Catholic families. Shock waves hit around the world. 

   “Spotlight” shows how the Boston Globe’s investigative team, Spotlight, challenged their culture, faith and friends in search of the truth. Their investigation revealed the many layers of hushed silence. It exposed how the church manipulated a faithful Boston Catholic culture to cover up its sins.     

     The script and actors are incredible in their portrayal of what being from Boston and being Catholic meant in 2001. It also shows what it meant to be an outsider. 

     Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), the new executive editor, was the outsider with fresh eyes. Marty was not Boston-born and raised, and he was not Catholic. He was an outsider in a city where that was considered a deficiency. Marty came to the paper with a reputation for budget cuts. With two strikes against him, he requested a meeting with the editor of Spotlight, Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), and the managing assistant editor, Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery).  

    Marty familiarized himself with the city and the newspaper before the meeting. But when he suggested that Robby change the focus of Spotlight’s investigation, the men were not immediately sold on Marty’s idea.

     The outsider editor, with a 53 percent Catholic subscriber base, requested that the team investigate Cardinal Bernard Law’s (Lou Cariou) handling of molestation allegations. The men hedged, but Marty pressed. “This strikes me as an essential story for a newspaper.” Motivated a little by the outsider’s authority and a little by conviction, Spotlight began an investigation.

    Robby, Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Matt Carrol (Brian d’Arcy) and Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Spotlight’s team, shared the same Boston Catholic background but dug in deep to follow wherever the truth leads.