Shining a light on Spotlight
By Kira Goodwin, Staff Writer
The new movie Spotlight showcases a recent horror in American history: Catholic priests molesting children. However, instead of focusing on the tragedy itself, the movie centers upon the Spotlight team of the Boston Globe. This team of newspaper reporters spends months researching to produce a story, and in this film they are given the task of looking into reports of one Catholic priest molesting children.
As the reporters dig deeper and deeper, however, evidence surfaces that leads them to believe there could be as many as thirteen Catholic Priests who have done this. As they go further they gain reason to believe that there could be ninety in Boston alone, but the issue stems across the country.
On top of that, they soon discover that the Catholic Church, because of its authority, was able to abuse its power to make it appear that these molestings never happened. They were able to make documents inaccessible and, because of the money and position they held, they were able to pay people to keep quiet.
The Spotlight team is forced to make connections, talk to everyone they can and do whatever possible to unseal the necessary documents to write the story that will expose the Church to the country.
This story of the Spotlight team is a true account of how the story was brought to the public. The characters in the movie–Mike Rezendes, Robby Robinson, Sacha Pfeiffer and the other members of the Boston Globe team–are the actual people who fought to get the story to the public.
On top of that, the story that they eventually publish, along with the documents and letters they attach that reveal the crimes and the Church’s cover-up, were indeed made accessible for the public to see for themselves.
By choosing to highlight the people who fought for the truth rather than the crime itself, the movie sought to highlight the good, while not overlooking the bad and making it a central, opposing force.
However, the team is not perfect. It is brought up that two different people sent information regarding the molestations to the Globe years prior, yet nobody did anything about it. Instead, the stories were buried in sections of the paper nobody reads.
Thus, the characters face their own moral conflicts in both their affiliations with the Church and not having done something sooner, and the movie becomes about not just sharing the truth with the public but doing the story the right way.
It is not only these turmoils and the sort of scavenger hunt the characters are on that keep the movie engaging but also the tragic content. Because while what the reporters are doing is important, the movie is essentially about people letting this happen. The people give the power to the Catholic Church, but people are afraid of them. Thus, even though plenty of people knew the truth, no one dared to share it.
Overall, Spotlight is definitely a movie that is worth your time; if not for the power of the movie, then at least for the historical context that surrounds it.