Way back in 2016, when the world was a simpler place, Spotlight won an Academy Award for Best Picture. It also won Best Original Screenplay, and had nominations in 4 other categories. It’s not going to pass the Bechdel Test, but it’s still a highly entertaining, satisfying film. The cast all give first class performances, and that human connection really carries the scenes that would otherwise have fallen flat. It’s populated by several familiar faces (Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, and Mark Ruffalo, to name a few) and helmed by director Tom McCarthy.
Spotlight tells the story of how the investigative journalists at the Boston Globe uncovered a massive sexual abuse scandal and subsequent cover-up by the local Catholic Archdiocese. Good investigative journalism is more than worthy of the Hollywood treatment. I think there’s something we, as an audience, inherently love about films that expose corruption. Whether it’s the government, a corporation, or a religious organization, we seem to like movies where no one is too big to come out of a scandal unscathed. We also have a soft spot for underdogs, which makes rooting for the journalists in Spotlight an easy task. Sure, we’re not opposed to our morally ambiguous heroes (hi, Deadpool!), but sometimes we all need a little straightforward good versus evil in our entertainment.
It can be tough to make the nitty gritty of journalism interesting. The film does a good job of showing the scope of the work that the journalists had to undertake without letting it drag the pace down. It’ll also make you so unbelievably happy that the Internet is more of a thing than it was in 2001 (seriously). There’s also some pretty straightforward messaging about responsibility that I was particularly drawn to. When everyone is just doing their job, keeping their head down, not asking questions, someone else is usually paying the price. It’s an interesting thing to consider: just what do we owe each other?
I rec’d The Keepers (a Netflix docuseries that’s pretty flippin fabulous) on here a while back. I think watching that and Spotlight together would make for a solid weekend of entertainment, since they share similar subject matter. For the record, I’m not intentionally singling out the Catholic Church. If I come across solid TV or Film that exposes or investigates conspiracies and mysteries within other denominations or faiths, I’ll rec those too. In the meantime, though, you should definitely give these two a watch.