REVIEW: Spotlight

Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo star in this alarming film based on a historic child sex abuse case in Boston, Massachusetts. Set in 2001, the film follows a team of investigative journalists named ‘Spotlight’ who work at the city’s newspaper, The Boston Globe. The story develops as the team starts to investigate allegations that Cardinal Law, the Archbishop of Boston, knew of a priest who was sexually abusing children and tried to cover it up.

Interviewing residents of the city; families, priests, members of a therapy group, lawyers (including Stanley Tucci as Mitchell Garabedian) and journalists, the team uncover a city-wide culture in which priests systematically abuse young children who idolise them and their families are silenced in the name of religion. Beginning their enquiries by focusing on just one priest, John Geoghan, the team’s work eventually leads them to discover that the scandal is much worse than they had previously anticipated.

“the team’s work eventually leads them to discover that the scandal is much worse than they had previously anticipated”

This harrowing and frustrating film is not for the faint-hearted, exploring a situation in which families struggle to come to terms with the abuse of their children at the hands of religious leaders. Casting a finger of judgment on the church, it is sure to touch a nerve with many viewers and encourage more survivors to come forward. In an interview with David Usborne for The Independent, Garabedian states that ‘scores of new victims have made contact ‘with him following the release of the film, some of them from the UK. Providing an insightful portrayal of investigative journalism with insider access, Spotlight reinforces the importance of good reporting in the years following scandals across the media profession.

“Casting a finger of judgment on the church, it is sure to touch a nerve with many viewers and encourage more survivors to come forward”

Powerful and heartbreaking, this film is a must-see for anyone interested in the impact of the media on law enforcement, religion and the pursuit of justice. The film leaves its viewers feeling angry, empty and stunned as a result of the exceptional acting and a sensitive approach to a now highly publicised and abhorred chain of events.

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