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Spotlight: Movie Review

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In the midst of the chaos of the 9/11 attacks, a small group of journalists tucked downstairs at The Boston Globe sat on the biggest story of their careers. Spotlight tells the true story of that four-person investigative reporting team who uncovered the biggest sex abuse scandal to ever rock the New England town.

Director and co-screenwriter Tom McCarthy tackles this tough, yet significant history, leaning on the acting talent of Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Foxcatcher), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Rachel McAdams (Midnight in Paris, Sherlock Holmes), Brian d'Arcy James (Smash), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan, Salt), John Slattery (Mad Men), and Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games). Please note, Spotlight is rated R. Extreme caution is advised.


New editor-in-chief Marty Baron (Schreiber) shakes things up at The Boston Globe when he re-assigns the paper's "Spotlight" team to dig up an old story. Led by editor Walter "Robby" Robinson (Keaton), dogged reporters Mike Rezendes (Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) uncover a massive child molestation scandal within the city's Catholic Churches.


Spotlight is a revelation. Reminiscent of Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman's All the President's Men, Spotlight delicately balances its focus on the journalists who uncover the shameful scandal, giving the story room to breathe and the survivors their voice. The film doesn't bash faith; rather it examines the possibility of belief even in the face of such wickedness. Moviegoers are advised to pay close attention from the very beginning. The story gets going quickly; and there are a lot of names to keep straight as it unfolds.

It boggles the mind to watch as these reporters uncover the deep roots of the sexual (and spiritual) abuse that more than 70 Boston-area priests perpetrated upon the most vulnerable among them – the low-income, absentee-fathered children of their parishes. The film indicates that these predators preyed on an estimated 1,000 children.

Rated R for some language including sexual references, Spotlight is appropriate only for mature audiences. Foul language is common and the subject matter may be difficult for some to watch. However, Spotlight is not overly graphic. It does well to share the reality of what happened without going too far.


Spotlight wraps up with a moving scene showing the "Spotlight" team responding to phone calls, hours after the story went to press. That leads to takeaway, pre-credit facts that appear on screen, including the listing of cities around the world where similar sex abuse cases in the Catholic Church were discovered as a result of The Boston Globe story. It's a sobering end to a deeply affecting film.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's