Sunday, February 14, 2016


This year my Academy Award preparation is not the usual.  I'm not making an effort to see all the nominees prior to the awards being presented.  For one thing, I'm not up to sitting through what many people think will be the Best Picture Winner, The Revenant. Too much emotional baggage over the last year.

Of the nominees for Best Picture I have seen Bridge of Spies and now Spotlight. I hope to see The Martian this week on pay-per-view.

I saw Spotlight yesterday at a one time only showing at my local multiplex.  Don't know why they did that as the film is coming out on video very soon.  But I'm glad I got to see it on the big screen.

This is based on a true story.  The Spotlight unit of the Boston Globe begins an investigation of rumors of children being molested by Catholic priests in the Boston Diocese. Even though 9/11 happens in the middle of the investigation and pushes back their release date, they do not give up on the story.

The editors and reporters do not stop the research, even when they are blindsided by the far-reaching power of the Church.  Bit by bit, they dig up the truth, resurrect it and publish it for the world to see.

As you would expect, this film is charged with emotion, tense, and unrelenting, just like the reporters who ferret out the awful truth. Starting with a list of 13 priests known to have molested children, the list grows to over 70 verified priests when the research is concluded.

At the end of the film credits, they run three triple column pages of single-spaced lists of other locations where reports of abuse by the priests have been verified all over the world.  You will be amazed.

As a retired social worker who dealt with victims of such abuse, I found the portrayals realistic as the reporters interviewed adults who were molested as children.

There are excellent performances from the cast - notably Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber as staff members at the Boston Globe, Stanley Tucci as an Armenian attorney who brought suits against the church, and Len Cariou as the arrogant Cardinal Law. This is not to short change the rest of the cast members.  Everyone did an admirable job with the difficult roles. This is a solid cast who worked as a unit within a cohesive script.

The cast of Spotlight recently won the Screen Actor's Guild Award for best cast.  It was a well-deserved award.

My interest was caught and held from the beginning of the movie to the end - no checking the time or being distracted by the sounds in the theater.  My attention was glued to that screen.

As I walked out of the theater after it was over, I remembered hearing Pope Francis speak last year about ending the silence on sexual abuse of children by priests and the practice of transferring a known predator to another parish where he could find new victims.

No this is not a topic for everyone, but it is something which happened.  The film version of the brave staff of the Boston Globe taking on a story of such magnitude in a predominantly Catholic city is incredible to watch.

I say good job to the real people portrayed in this film and bravo to the cast who portrayed them.

On a personal note, I have to say Mark Ruffalo is becoming one of my favorite actors lately.  From the HBO biopic The Normal Heart, to the Marvel Comics films, The Avengers, and The Age of Ultron, and now for his passionate portrayal of reporter Mike Resendez in Spotlight. 

Who knew the big green guy with few verbal skills had it in him?

This is an excellent film.  Check it out.

Until next time...

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