I have to admit I am a little late in watching this Oscar winning movie (Best Movie), but since movies like these don’t get a cinema release in Pakistan, I have to wait for the DVD to come out.
So here are the top 5 reasons to watch Spotlight!
- The Subject Matter
Spotlight focuses on a very sensitive matter: sexual abuse of young boys by Catholic priests. It’s a subject that has been discussed all over the world in the print media and television. It’s such a sensitive subject that the Catholic church takes great pain in hushing up the cases filed by the victims or completely brush these cases under the carpet. So, kudos to the makers of the movie to bring this subject to the front, and tackle it in a mature and elegant manner.
No doubt the issue of child sexual abuse is a sensitive and harrowing topic. At two points in the movie, reference is made to the fact that it’s not just a matter of a young being abused sexually, but along with that, they are also ‘spiritually abused’: they abandon their faith in God. According to research, this is a common trait of young boys and girls who are abused, as they feel God has let them down by not protecting them from sexual predators, and shy away from religion. Plus, it’s not just the victims who are affected; the reporters working on the story themselves go through a moment of anger and frustration at the whole concept that the Catholic church would allow such a thing.
- The Taut Screenplay
Spotlight is a complex movie yet maintains an effective pacing. Despite a plethora of names, from reporters, lawmakers to victims, the screenplay is so taut and tight that as a viewer you are constantly gripped and develop an eagerness to know what happens next. It may seem a tad bit familiar to another similarly themed movie, Erin Brockovich, but Spotlight maintains its own strength. So kudos to the writers of this movie for being able to present the story in a coherent, well-paced speed to allow for the movie to unfold without losing any interest. The story also works mainly because it’s not really about the victims and the priests, but it’s about how an investigative journalists team takes on the system because were it about the victims then that could have been a more harrowing and depressing story.
- The Characters
Memorable characters abound all over. We have the team of Spotlight headed by Robby (Michael Keaton, reminding us of what a great actor he used to be), who leads Mike (Mark Ruffalo), Sasha (Rachel McAdams) and Matt (Brian D’Arcy). Working along this team is Ben Bradlee Jr, who’s the editor at The Boston Globe, and the new editor Marty Baron (Live Schreiber). Special mention must go to Stanley Tucci who plays the lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, representing the victims. These are all characters based on real life, and there are many moments these characters go through with self-doubt, anger, frustration and by the end of it all, a huge sense of achievement. They also all each deal with their own personal Kudos to all the actors for playing their roles with such passion it shows (I really enjoyed watching Michael Keaton after so long!)
- The Direction
Kudos to the director Tom McCarthy for directing and writing this film. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team is the oldest investigative journalism team in the US and the movie itself is based on a series of stories by the Spotlight team that won them the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Navigating through the complex and intricate network of media houses, lawyers, and the Catholic Church is not an easy task to do, and McCarthy manages to take the audience through it all deserves a huge commendation. Not for a second do we lose any interest or falter, but rather the suspense and curiosity only intensifies as the Spotlight team discovers what’s really lurking underneath the entire Catholic Church scandal. From the use of music (Howard Shore) to the locations in and around Boston, to the sets, technically the movie is par excellence.
- The Journey
For the team of Spotlight, as well as the audience, the movie is quite a bit of a journey. Personally speaking, the movie becomes extremely interesting when Baron, the new editor, tells the Spotlight team that they are not going to target the individual priests but instead target the ‘system.’ This was such a powerful moment and I couldn’t help but wait to see how Spotlight takes on the entire system. The mere fact they do eventually run a story on the abuse by Catholic Church is a feat in itself and only goes to show how far the human spirit, along with passion, dedication and determination can take you along your journey, overcoming all sorts of obstacles to reach your destination. There is a huge sense of reward, personally and professionally, that the Spotlight team achieves, as well as the audience, which makes the movie such a great watch with a huge redeeming factor. I mean, after all, it did win the Best Picture at the Oscars and rightly so!
5 out of 5