An urgent procedural concerning one of the most painful scandals in recent memory, the latest from writer-director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) tells the true story of how The Boston Globe revealed the Catholic Church’s cover-up of widespread child molestation within the Massachusetts priesthood.
The year is 2001. Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton, Birdman) leads the Globe’s investigative unit, which includes Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear, Begin Again, The Kids Are All Right), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams, Midnight in Paris), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James), in an inquiry regarding sexual abuse by Catholic priests. They have their work cut out for them. Despite repeated allegations—decades’ worth—of misconduct against minors under its care, the Church has long made a habit of simply moving the accused priests from parish to parish rather than allowing them to face justice. As the Globe’s team finds layer after layer of cover-up, their investigation becomes a quest that goes on for months, pushing their psychological endurance to the limit.
Fusing the newsroom politics and investigative momentum of All the President’s Men with the thematic heft of Sleepers, Spotlight traces the workings of the journalistic exposé that garnered the Globe a Pulitzer.
Featuring compelling performances from many of today’s finest actors, and propelled by Howard Shore’s somber score, this is easily McCarthy’s most ambitious production. Yet Spotlight is very much in keeping with the gifted filmmaker’s previous works. It tells a tale of tragedy befalling ordinary people, and of the fragile but real comfort yielded when hard truths are brought into the light.
“Inspiring stuff, the stuff of Hollywood all the way back to Frank Capra and before: a story of scrappy underdogs, determined to get to the truth, and toppling the mighty in the process.” (Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)
“For all of its modesty and dedication to process, Spotlight winds up being a startlingly emotional experience, and not just for filmgoers with intimate knowledge of the culture it depicts.” (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)
“Spotlight is a gripping detective story and a superlative newsroom drama, a solid procedural that tries to confront evil without sensationalism.” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times)