Go See Spotlight

Spotlight movie poster

Spotlight movie poster

I attended a screening of the movie Spotlight last week. When it comes out Friday, please go see it.

It’s not a smash bang Bond or Jurassic Park or a superhero action flick, but you could argue that the real life Boston Globe reporters the movie is based on were superheroes for uncovering and stopping an epidemic. I remember hearing about the child sexual abuse cases in Boston briefly when the Sandusky case broke in Pennsylvania, but did not know the extent. I saw what happens when a community doesn’t allow abuse when I served on the board for a child advocacy center, and it makes me sick to think that people would rather let children go through this so they would not be ostracized. When you do see it, the scene where Mark Ruffalo’s character goes off on his editor, just remember that you will see that during the Oscars next spring.

Teachers and healthcare professionals are required to report cases of child abuse. Often, they have interactions with children where they are not with the abuser, and the child feels comfortable around their teacher or a nurse or doctor who they trust to tell them if something is wrong. Shouldn’t a child feel comfortable enough to go to their church to tell their minister, priest or rabbi about the same thing? Instead, predators often use the church as a shield; they will have their church leader or loyal parishioners to testify in their behalf, and use their religious belief as a positive testimony to the type of person that they are. If you were serving on a jury, and you hear a minister or priest express accolades for this upstanding citizen, how likely would you choose to put that person behind bars?
The movie, and the investigative journalism that inspired the movie, were not attacks on the church or religious institutions in general. They were attacks on the cowardice of trusted individuals using their power over their community to inflict pain, suffering and countless years of anguish through a disgusting practice.
The Spotlight team and the actors who portrayed them in the movie: Liev Schreiber/Marty Baron Michael Keaton/Walter V. Robinson Mark Ruffalo/Michael Rezendes Rachel McAdams/Sacha Pfeiffer Stanley Tucci/Mitchell Garabedian

The Spotlight team and the actors who portrayed them in the movie:
Liev Schreiber/Marty Baron
Michael Keaton/Walter V. Robinson
Mark Ruffalo/Michael Rezendes
Rachel McAdams/Sacha Pfeiffer
Stanley Tucci/Mitchell Garabedian

I don’t know if my interest in the movie Spotlight was inspired by my love of investigative and objective journalism, or my interest in child advocacy. Investigative journalism, like the breaking of the Watergate story, are what inspired me to pursue a journalism career in the first place. Pressure from higher ups on stories that were not advisable to pursue based on “community interests” were one of the many reasons I write for fun now. I do know that the American public, and maybe even the world, have become cynical of journalists because news outlets take stands, and profess opinions rather than reporting news and investigating stories. The public has developed a mistrust with the media, so when a story breaks, we wonder, what is the agenda? What does the news outlet gain from running this story?

The movie, and the investigative journalism that inspired the movie, were not attacks on the church or religious institutions in general. They were attacks on the cowardice of trusted individuals using their power over their community to inflict pain, suffering and countless years of anguish through a disgusting practice.

Go see the movie. Even though I knew the outcome, I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire movie, and watching in horror as if the events were happening right now.