The church is a place of prayer and hope. Or it is supposed to be. The faith of four dedicated journalists is shaken when they come across the biggest story of the year: priests in Boston are molesting children. Once the journalists begin investigating, the numbers are astonishing. As it turns out, there are not just a small number of priests involved–there are nearly a hundred! Sacha Pfeiffer stops attending mass services with her Nana. Matt Carroll struggles when he realizes a makeshift rehabilitation house formulated by the church for abusive priests is just down the street from his home. Robby realizes he has had his hands on this story all along. Watch as these reporters break the code of silence developed by the Catholic Church in Boston and reveal the real-life horror of priests abusing their most vulnerable followers. If they cannot publish the story, who is going to help? How else is this going to stop? Back in 2002, prior to the Boston Globe’s probing investigation into the abuse that was transpiring in the Catholic Church, there was very little talk around even the possibility of such acts occurring. The church was considered one of the most powerful entities in the lives of its followers. Making an accusation of abuse held the potential to uproot the lives of those affected. Within church walls, many of the churches had facilitated their own means of resolution to such scenarios by drawing up agreements outside of the court system. This resulted in the makeshift rehabilitation for abusive priests such as the one not far from Matt Carroll’s home. This resolution kept the abuse an inside secret, placing a gag order on the abused and their families, while allowing the priests to continue their lives without being subject to a court hearing. The beginning of this huge societal shakedown began when Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carrol, Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Marty Baron and Ben Bradlee Jr. took a strong stance against the ongoing abuse. Taking on this confrontation with the church posed a huge risk to the reporters and the newspaper. The Catholic Church in Boston at the time was known to have a strong political influence and was able to place pressure on entities such as the Boston Globe. Pursuing such a controversial story posed a risk to the credibility of the paper and the employment of the reporters. Providing solid documentation played a key piece in being able to continue pursuing the story. Exposing a huge societal flaw, however, provided the opportunity to ensure changes were implemented to prevent further abusers from being able to manipulate these victims. Despite the risks, publishing the story of the Catholic Church’s abuse allowed the reporters a sense of civic duty, as they were able to educate the public on the inner workings of a major coverup and allow some closure for the victims. Down the line, the team received a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize.

     The film “Spotlight” is the retelling of the true story of how Spotlight, an investigative journalism team for the Boston Globe, covered and wrote the story of the multiple priests abusing children throughout the years in Boston and how the church was covering it up. The film starts in 2001 before 911, but it goes back many years. Robby Robinson, Sacha Pfeiffer, Mike Rezendes, and Matt Carrol are the members of the Spotlight team who are covering the story. Through hardship and struggle, the team would stop at nothing to investigate and bring the wrongdoings of the church into the spotlight.

     The story starts when the Boston Globe received a new managing editor by the name of Marty Baron. He sees the story and puts Spotlight on the case. Their stories usually take multiple months up to years to investigate and write. These journalists gave up time, family relations, and their own well-being to write this story. As they investigate the story, the entire team had to keep it a complete secret, even to the rest of the Globe. No matter if the information could help people around them, they have to keep it top-secret until they can get the story out so that no leaks would happen. 

    One of the first scenes is a reenactment of what sets off this powder keg of a story. A mother reports her two boys being molested by a priest but is pushed into keeping it between them and the church. The scene is very important since it gives us a description of how the church silenced these reports. Marty Baron, the new managing editor of the Boston Globe walks into the story. When Robby Robinson, the editor for Spotlight, didn’t see many features for the story, Baron decided to push it more and put the Spotlight team on the case. 

     The next steps for the Spotlight team were to file a motion to get sensitive documents available to the public. These documents would be essential keys to this story. They provided conclusive evidence of the fact that the church was sweeping these incidents and the molesting of children under the rug. Down the story, almost every single person the team members went to for information or clearance tried to turn them away from the story. They would say that they should keep this between themselves or that it wasn’t a big deal. The story was so filled with the restrictions and the struggle to get information. Even so, the Spotlight team continued. Next, the team talked to a man by the name of Phil Saviano. Phil was the first survivor that the team talked to in person. He was a part of an organization called SNAP that was a support organization for the survivors of priest molestation. He told them his story and advised the team to seek out and talk to Richard Sipe. Richard Sipe was an ex-priest who married a nun and became a psychotherapist and author of six books about Catholicism. 

     Richard Sipe helped the Spotlight team members discover that there were over 90 priests in Boston abusing and molesting children, instead of the 13 they had suspected originally. The team starts to get more enemies and attract more tension as the story heats up. Just as the team is about to get the restricted documents that could make this story, 9/11 happened. The story was put aside so that all reporters could cover 9/11 for the next few weeks. The team picked it back up again when the important documents were finally released to the public. The team hurried to get the documents and finish the story before any other paper could. The documents ended up having multiple letters and verifications that high ranking clergy were hiding the fact that they knew about these crimes.

     Baron told the team members that they couldn’t stop the story at just a few priests. They had to prove that this went through the whole church and to write the story about how deep those roots went. The team kept up their investigation, getting evidence that each of these 90 or so priests did these acts and that high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church were hiding it and putting these priests back into new churches. With this information found and the evidence from the documents, the story would be released after New Year’s. When the story came out, it gave hundreds of survivors the courage to call Spotlight and tell them their own stories and how they were abused. The Spotlight’s room of operation filled with the phone calls of survivors calling in. 

     In this movie, people learn and see the harsh reality of these cases. Most to all of them were pushed under the rug. People never had the chance to tell their stories. The Spotlight team members themselves may have lost things while pursuing the story. They may have lost friendships, faith, and relationships with their families.  But they gained a lot from it. The team members got the satisfaction and knowledge that they brought wrongdoers to justice. Even though it should have been done sooner, the team members had finally brought the wrongdoings of the church into the spotlight and helped many survivors get closure as well as prevented many more children from experiencing the same fate.