Film Review: A Scandal In Boston


Spotlight is a drama film released in 2015 and chronicles the events surrounding a group of investigative reporters for The Boston Globe who wrote a series articles exposing the Catholic Church’s propensity for covering up the sexual abuse of children perpetuated by priests. The Globe was awarded the Pulitzer in 2003, and the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Tom McCarthy directed the film and was also a co-writer alongside Josh Singer. The powerhouse cast includes Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci.

“Spotlight” is apparently this special branch of investigative reporters who take on the more complex stories in Boston, Massachusetts. They get wind of a number of priests in the area being accused of molesting children and then having their misdeeds hushed up by the senior authorities of the Catholic Church.

This is actually a very compelling film, but it sometimes drags a bit. There are a lot of meetings which take place, which sometimes seems to slow the story down, however I guess lengthy intense discussions would indeed be commonplace at a newspaper. I have no complaints about the cast. The roster is an impressive collection of proven talent. Some of the attempts at the Boston accent seemed a little dodgy but not enough to dampen my interest in the film.

I am sure there was some creative liberties taken with the interpretation of this story, but the blowback and chaos that would follow such exposure of a vile betrayal such as sexual abuse of a child by those in the clergy did seem to be authentically portrayed. The excuses and minimizations these offenders express certainly were accurately presented. In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I worked as a probation officer for many years and much of that time was supervising a caseload of sex offenders. The powers that be behind this film really seemed to have researched the subject quite thoroughly.

The film has a pretty grim subject matter, but I find it to be an important example of how complex and heartbreaking these cases can get. It also offers some insight on the work many journalists put in when it comes to bringing such troubling secrets to light.

It would seem odd to call this an enjoyable film, so I will say that it is an important and well-made one. The pace of it sometimes tested my patience, but the patience I had to muster did make the experience worthwhile.

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