I was raised a Catholic. As a matter of fact, I went to Catholic school all my life. I believe in God, as prescribed by Catholic Cathechism, and the prayers I say are the ones I have known since I was a child. So how did I react to all the revelations in the movie “Spotlight,” which chronicles the cover up of the Boston Archdiocese of their clergies who molested children? I felt saddened by it. This is an institution I believed in, although, truth be told, I have been disenchanted by the church as an institution for a while now. But I still believe in its fundamental lessons and will take those with me to my grave.
This film, directed by Tom McCarthy from his screenplay (with Josh Singer) is powerful in a lot of ways: it’s an effective procedural drama of how a group of reporters cracked a story that has literally been planted in front of their eyes. It is also an effective ensemble piece: using a great school of actors with not one performance outshining another – Michael Keaton, though, is an unofficial front runner for a supporting nod here, which could give him the Academy Award he lost last year. There is a fine balance with the characterizations, and there is impeccable focus in detail that made the article from which the story is based on more compelling and shocking. (The writers believed in a lack of euphemism in describing the stories) It is also an intelligent suspense thriller, appealing more to a broad emotional base. It also highlights the importance of investigative journalists. Broad sheets have now moved more on the internet, but the need for them has not and will never cease. Personally, I liked that “other” journalistic suspense film, “Truth” (my thoughts here ) because the focus on that story is more on a personal level, but I seem to be in the minority on that one.
And lastly – it made me think of faith, and the Catholic church in general. If they don’t move forward with the rest of the world, they may see themselves getting extinct. One of the findings stated here is that most priests have an emotional IQ of children, that’s why it is easy for them to justify their actions. And I think of myself – if I had children, would I want them educated by these people, knowing how flawed their system can be? I wish I had an answer, but obviously I am in the dark as everyone else. But the fact that this film made me question these things? That might be it’s ultimate legacy.