Film review: Spotlight (2015)

This is an excellent film that deals with the true story of the Boston Globe‘s 2002 expose of the Catholic Church’s shameful role in covering up the repeated sexual abuse committed by its priests in the Boston diocese and that the cover-up went all the way up the chain to Archbishop Cardinal Law who orchestrated secret settlements with the victims.

Law resigned in 2002 and fled to the Vatican where he was appointed to important posts and he has not returned since, possibly to avoid being questioned (or worse) by legal authorities in the US for his role in the affair. His being immediately rewarded with such prestigious posts at the Vatican and shielded by them shows how corrupt the Catholic Church is all the way to the top.

‘Spotlight’ is the name given to the four-person team of investigative reporters at the paper who worked on important stories that required extensive resources and time. The film explores how the heavily Catholic city of Boston, in which most of the police and politically influential people were Catholics, aided in the cover-up of the crimes because the church was simply such a powerful force in their lives. The church was so powerful it could even make court documents disappear. Last month this film won the Academy Award for best picture.

This film, like the ones I reviewed earlier such as The Martian and The Big Short manages to be engrossing by focusing on process rather than manufacturing drama by creating artificial conflict among the protagonists. Where The Martian looked at solving the problem of getting the astronaut back and The Big Short looked at how the real estate bubble grew and then exploded, this one looks at how the newspaper slowly unraveled a scale of abuse by Catholic priests that boggled the mind and how it had managed to be kept quiet for so long.

Here’s the trailer.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    This was one the very very few films that I didn’t regret paying money to see at the cinema. The King’s Speech was the last one. Absolutely top notch. The ads before the film starts seem to be getting more annoying though…

  2. says

    Ah yes, brave highly moral cardinal Law, who fled to Rome where he’s safe. Because, you know, “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s but drag your feet and run out the clock when you’re in the hot seat.”

  3. says

    I loved “The Martian” and will listen to the audiobook version a second time soon. Same for “The Big Short”. But “Spotlight” is the only film of 2015 that I saw twice in a theatre (and as a cinephile I average two films a week). I wish there was a way to force every single Catholic to watch that movie.

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