“When you’re a poor kid from a poor family and a priest pays attention to you, that’s a big deal. How do you say no to God?” It’s simple–you don’t. And as you’ll discover by watching this film, many other young and vulnerable children said the same. “Spotlight” chronicles the excruciating journey of four reporters trying to uncover the stories of child abuse within the Catholic Church. It’s a tasteful take on a touchy topic. But there’s plenty of unbridled uncomfortableness to go around.
Now if you think that telling a story about telling a story might be challenging, you’d be right. The majority of journalistic work is not thrilling. And when you’re telling a story dependent on visuals, journalistic work just doesn’t deliver the same intensity. This is what makes it a rare candidate for film adaptation. In a movie market that’s been saturated with true stories for decades, “Spotlight” could have easily sunk to the bottom of the pile. But it didn’t. And the same qualities behind its swimmingly good reviews are the same qualities that should make you want to watch it.
Consider Spotlight an honest look at the work of a reporter. You’ll watch empathetically real people put their own lives on hold for the sake of others. You’ll gaze fixedly as names are input into a spreadsheet. For two hours, you’ll live and breathe with these characters and their pursuit of truth. Skillfully dramatized office work will become enthralling to you. Personal stories will resonate with you on levels you didn’t even know you had. The bureaucracy will enrage you. You may even walk away from the entire experience questioning your own understanding of the system.
“Spotlight” unmasked a deeply systemic problem within an institution as old as time. The reporters stood up to their superiors on every level in order to fulfill their responsibilities. And in the end, society was better for it. The Spotlight team continued to reinforce one of humanity’s most cherished beliefs–that no person or organization is above basic morality. So if you haven’t seen it yet, please do.