Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Movie Review | Spotlight [IN THEATER]

There is a reason everyone is talking about how good Spotlight is. Because it is.

Spotlight reminds you why we tell stories. Why we right books, make movies, have journalists, all of it. It reminds you what good movies, and good stories, do. They change you. And they change the world. Whether it be my providing a good laugh or by truly making a difference, good stories have purpose.

Spotlight is the story of … a story. I knew a bit about the story being told, but not all the details. Everything about the original story that the Spotlight reporters at the Boston Globe told as well as the retelling of their story via this awesome movie are just great. Everything. The story is gripping, from beginning to end. It seems so hard to separate the work the journalists did with the retelling in the movie – so I am struggling a bit with my words here.

The acting is amazing. Flawless. A great cast that does a very credible job of recreating real people that took on an incredible challenge. I didn’t know the reporters before the film, but after reading some of the articles about production, I have a great deal of respect for the actors who took such pains to really understand and properly portray their real-life characters. Down to the accents and other details. Amazing. All of the actors did a great job, but I think one that stood out to me was Mark Ruffalo. He has come such a long way in recent years and has just had some amazing character-drive roles (i.e. Foxcatcher). Then there is Stanley Tucci. He is such an amazing and versatile actor, but sometimes I immediately take him to “comedic genius in cooky roles” (i.e. Devil Wears Prada, Hunger Games, Easy A). Films like this remind me of his amazing ability to play pretty much any character, including drama. Keaton and McAdams are great of course. And Live Schreiber’s character is very interesting. Watching him on screen always left me wanting more. He was so soft-spoken and restrained, but everything he said was perfectly on-point.

The story itself is amazing. Here is a small group of reporters who undertook an amazing task and overcame many challenges to tell a story that needed to be told. Who gave a voice to those who had been silenced. Who shined a light on an entire institution that many had put blind faith in. The movie does an excellent job of giving its viewers Journalism 101 and explaining how investigative pieces like this come to life and all the red tape and politics that are involved. And it is the ultimate tale of tenacity and dedication, sometimes with great personal sacrifice.

Every detail is accounted for with amazing accuracy – from the facts of the story to accents of the actors to the 2001 sets and props – it’s all perfect. As the film went on, I noticed churches everywhere. A really well executed visual cue to show that the Catholic church is everywhere in Boston, literally hovering over the community at every corner. It was shocking to hear that there are 1,500 Priests in Boston.  

Overall, great journalism, great movie making. A compelling story that makes you sit up and do something.

And a definite front runner for upcoming awards season (yay!).

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