The true story behind the scandal that shook the world.

Based on a true story, Spotlight tells the story of the reporters behind the breaking news report of child molestation and the Catholic Church’s cover-up in Boston.

Prior to awards season, Spotlight flew under the radar. Sure it has a killer cast and was well reviewed, but it was little known and littler seen. The Boston Globe is at a pivotal point in its existence in the early 2000s. Bought by The Times, staff cuts and uncertainty cause waves of concern for its journalists. A new Editor, an outsider to Boston, is brought in to hopefully lead to positive change for the Globe. His first order of business is to pursue a story left dormant and uninvestigated: that of a priest who allegedly molested boys and the Cardinal and church that knew about it. This story centers on the small staff that writes for the Spotlight section of the paper who are assigned the case.

Most of us should be old enough to remember when this article broke and the ripple effect and later ramifications it had on the Catholic Church.  The intriguing part of the film Spotlight is that it truly helps you understand the barriers these journalists faced just to get to the truth.  This is a city where the Catholic Church has the greatest power and influence of any American city, permeating its reach into the political system.  The lengths these individuals went to prevent the story ever being researched, let alone published, were against them.

Spotlight manages to showcase journalistic quandaries, ethical dilemmas, legal exploitations, and dense information regarding a complicated investigation into this systemic broach of trust all while doing so in an engaging way. Spotlight is coherent and approachable without ever being flat or verbose, a testament to a phenomenal script by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer. Furthermore, Signer and McCarthy are able to tell a story that spans across decades without using schticky flashbacks or overly stylized crutches and instead tells a simple chronological but gripping story.

Part of the reason Spotlight feels so real is that, well, it is. Based on a true story, it is beyond evident that the actors (Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Brian d’Arcy James)  took the assignment of playing real life individuals seriously.  Rather than exaggerating characteristics for effect which ultimately is detrimental to a film, the atmosphere of the staff of Spotlight reels like a group that has been together for years. Each character is unique but honest, well formed and have believably consistent actions and relationships with one another.

At its core, Spotlight succeeds in its simplicity of storytelling. With a narrative laid out from real life events, it had all the makings of a great film.  Of course, that has been true of other films which have failed miserably so it’s nice to see a movie such as Spotlight to live up to its potential and rise to the occasion.