Spotlight-A Landmark Biopic

Hello! Welcome to part two of my THE POST series. Please refer to last week’s examination of All The President’s Men to get caught up. I actually watched and reviewed this movie before ATPM, and then realized that they were about the same newspaper. I’ll be intrigued to see what biopic comes out in another 40 years. 😊

Hi! I’ve had this review in my drafts for months, but I finally gave the movie a second glance. I was first introduced to it in a Reporting class back in December and I’ve wanted to talk about it. On the one hand, it’s a simple biopic of a group of journalists, but on a deeper level it’s about the choices we make and the things we tell ourselves to ease our consciences.

I’m going to highlight the four main actors and two supporters because they all deserve praise. Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d’Arcy James, and Michael Keaton make up the four members of the Spotlight team of the Boston Globe. The local paper exposed the abuses of the Catholic Church in early 2002. Each of the four get their own terrific sub plots and individual arcs, but my two personal favorites are Keaton and Ruffalo. Ruffalo’s Mike Rezendes is a man whose tenuous faith is nearly shattered by the events, but he slowly comes to grips with the new reality. Keaton plays Spotlight editor Walter (Robby) Robinson, a straight shooter who suffers no fools and takes no bribes. He deals with friends who love the town blindly and a few loyal clergymen afraid of bad press. Rachel McAdams plays Sacha Pfeiffer. Her story arc is more subdued, but she gets a nice contrast with her devoutly Catholic grandmother. Brian d’Arcy James’ story starts later in the movie, as he learns he lives next to a rehab house for abusivo priests and realizes just how close to home the problem is .

Aesthetically, the movie is rather dull-lots of gray and beige and white palettes. But it works well with the heavy tone of the movie. An interesting thing I noticed is that in some scenes of tough discussion, children would pass in the background, sometimes laughing or playing. The passing children definitely helped undercut the gravity of the discussions.

The only slight issue I took with the movie is that sometimes the dialogue was too quiet or too fast and I lost track of what was happening. But key points were usually repeated in multiple scenes so I caught what was going on. I do recommend watching with subtitles for extra clarity.

Overall I give the movie 9.5/10 for compelling plot, quality actors, and subtle gravity and emotion. Half a point lost for the slight dialogue issue. I would give a trigger warning to people with sexual assault or religious issues. I recommend this to any English major, particularly those in the journalism field. Watch, converse, and admire.

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