Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Movie Review: "Spotlight"

Few movies have had more buzz prior to its release as has "Spotlight".  Critics have been fairly unanimous in their praise, and it is a dead certain cinch to be nominated for a passel of Academy Awards, and may well be the odds on favorite for the Best Picture of the Year.  It has also been called the best movie EVER about the newspaper business, something that might be hard for fans of "All the President's Men" to accept.  In fact, so much has been made about that opinion, that I had cause to wonder, "Do newspaper critics love this movie because it is a great movie, or do they love it because it is a great movie about newspapers?"

The movie takes place in 2001-02 when the special investigative reporting team of the Boston Globe undertakes an investigation into the sexual abuse scandals that were occurring over a period of decades in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.  Specifically, the investigation's focus centered on the institutional cover up by the Archdiocese and the legal community in Boston.

The subject matter is such that I suspect that many people will choose not to see this movie.  Fine.  However, it needs to be noted that this, tragically, is a true story.  These events really did take place.  

That aside, is this a good movie?  It absolutely is.  It depicts the work that goes into reporters cultivating sources, digging for the facts, hitting dead ends, wearing out shoe leather, and making sure that the story gets told and told correctly.  It is a thriller, and the very nature of the story is such that you are moved and deeply affected by the story.  As a piece of motion picture art, this is a terrific movie.  Any awards that this movie garners in the awards season ahead will be well deserved.

Directed by Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote the script with Josh Singer, "Spotlight" includes a terrific ensemble cast....Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci.  Not sure if any one actor will dominate the Oscars.  Surely Ruffalo and Keaton will receive acting nominations, and I wouldn't be upset if Tucci received one either.  The Oscars do not have an award for Best Ensemble Cast (as the Screen Actors Guild does), but if it did, the "Spotlight" would be a cinch for it.

Lots of good lines in this movie, but the one that was a real grabber to me was "If it takes a village to raise a child, then it also takes a village to abuse one."

Four stars all the way for this one.

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