Photo in courtesy of Entertainment Weekly
By Sara Tewksbury
Ever wonder what obstacles an investigative reporter might face when hunting down their story? “Spotlight” by Open Road Films took on the challenge of telling the story about the Boston Globe investigation that shook the city of Boston in the early 2000s.
The Catholic Church was one of the most trusted systems in place until the truth was revealed about the systematic abuse of children.
This was a topic that was not easy to talk about, yet alone put into a movie. “Spotlight” did a fantastic job finding the balance between presenting the evidence of the terrible events and doing so in a way that respects the victim’s stories.
With an impressive cast including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and Liev Schrieber, the movie was did not disappoint.
The star of the movie though, was Ruffalo, who played a reporter for the Spotlight team, a group of four reporters who delve deeper into stories than an everyday reporter would. His reactions were honest, like his swearing in disbelief of how many priests were involved with this type of abuse. Towards the end of the movie, Ruffalo gave a monologue that was so emotional and raw that it gave viewers chills.
Even if viewers did not know much about investigative journalism or the Boston Globe investigation, viewers would still walk away from this movie feeling as if they had a pretty good idea of what the investigation was like. There were many times where the spotlight team was threatened, or intimidated, to not continue investigating the story, but they did not back down.
Once the team had enough evidence to see that this was a systemic problem, they knew they had to get the truth out. Investigative journalism is a crucial field that keeps institutions in check. There were many people trying to keep the truth about the abuse under wraps, but the Boston Globe Spotlight team did not stop until they told the story.
The movie portrayal of the investigation shows how the reporters spent endless hours searching through newspaper clips and making phone calls to try and confirm the story. It also seemed realistic in how there were times where people slammed the door in their face. There are definitely parts in the movie that are altered to be more engaging for the movie audience, but overall it seemed true to the real story.
During the credits, they listed all the towns where the abuse was found to have happened. The screen kept flipping to the next list of towns. This was very powerful to put into context how big this issue really was.