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Film & TV

How Spotlight exposed abuse secrets

Film & TV

This sensitive yet powerful new film forces audiences to question how and why unspeakable acts of child abuse went unpunished for so long.

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During 2001, four journalists from the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team embarked on a year-long investigation into child abuse within the Catholic Church.

In 2002, they published more than 600 articles detailing the heinous crimes of more than 70 priests in a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation which shook one of the oldest and most powerful religious establishments to its core.

This Oscar-nominated film tells their incredible story.

When newly appointed editor Marty Baron (a strikingly reserved Liev Schreiber) arrives at the newspaper, he immediately tasks the Spotlight team – consisting of editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, journalists Sacha Pfeiffer and Mike Rezendes and researcher Matt Carroll  – with following up on a little-known article alleging child abuse within the Boston Catholic Church.

Not content with naming the offending priests, Baron takes the bold move of challenging the team (all of whom were raised Catholic) to investigate the institution itself.

As the journalists delve deeper into the church’s history, they discover a long list of previously unknown victims and a shocking cover-up involving high-ranking officials from within the church and the wider community.

Writer/director Tom McCarthy handles this highly sensitive issue with the dignity it deserves, crafting an emotional and profound story which forces the audience to question how (and more importantly why) these unspeakable acts went unpunished for so long.

Spotlight explores the abuse from the point of view of the victims, the reporters and those involved in the cover-up, with this technique enabling viewers to gain a deeper understanding of the complex issue and, ultimately, to form their own opinions.

Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams deliver emotionally charged performances as the driven and compassionate reporters Rezendes and Pfeiffer, who refused to give up on the truth (and the victims) despite mounting pressure from the Boston Catholic Church. Michael Keaton is equally impressive as the unshakable Robby, while Brian d’Arcy James plays researcher Matt Carroll and Stanley Tucci is small-time attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who continues to fight for victims’ rights despite being constantly railroaded by the church’s sizeable legal teams.

Powerful and thought-provoking, Spotlight is the extraordinary story of how a group of dedicated journalists gave dozens of abuse victims a voice. A must-see.

 

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