Monday, May 9, 2016

Best Picture: "Spotlight," 2015

Movie Stats:
Released 2015 (Italy)
American & Canadian, in English
Director - Tom McCarthy
Stars - Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Plot Summary:
A dramatized look at the Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church’s pedophile priest scandal. Keaton stars as Walter “Robby” Robinson; Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes; and McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer, all members of the “Spotlight” team, which broke the story, and Schreiber co-stars as Marty Baron, the Globe’s editor.

Lots of blue language; frank discussions of child molestation.

Bad Stuff:
Minor quibble: length (slightly too long).

Serious complaint: I didn’t like how it tried to drum up intrigue by playing the “which person ignored this story years ago” game & casting shade on one character in particular. It was unnecessary & felt cheap.

Good Stuff:
Man, every single actor, from the most minor to the top billed, knocked this right out of the park. Really phenomenal. My favorites were Keaton, Ruffalo, and Stanley Tucci (as Mitchell Garabedian, lawyer to several of the victims).

I liked how it explored the varying ways in which a scandal like this affects a community. While it's about how it affected the victims psychologically, emotionally, and physically, it’s also about how it affected their faith, and the faith of others connected to the scandal (such as the reporters). I’m not religious myself, but I understand how important faith is to many people. The scenes of people struggling with this issue touched me on a deep emotional level.

I’m clinging to the hope that it’s accurate about the reporters, because it’s restored some of my faith in investigative journalism.

The Verdict:
Wow, this was an excellent year for Best Picture nominees. I’ve seen 6 of the 8 and thought 5 of those were great (was not a big fan of “The Revenant”). I particularly would’ve been happy if “Brooklyn” or “The Big Short” had won, but I see why “Spotlight” did. It was really well done. It’s not an easy topic. I have to admit that I was dreading this viewing. If it hadn’t won Best Picture, I probably never would have seen it. But I’m glad that it did, because I would have missed out on an incredibly important story and a lot of really fine acting. If you’re hesitant, know that you should watch this film. In the end, I think the only thing you’ll be disappointed in is the Catholic Church.

I give it 4.5 stars.

Note: The Best Picture Master List has been updated to include this movie. It comes in at #9.


Patricia said...

I loved this movie too! As I have expressed with too many exclamation points on other platforms. I think it's worth watching just for the acting and I thought Liev was also quite impressive. But everyone was so good. And as the someone observed in a review: people doing their jobs well is really interesting too watch, even if the sum parts of the doing of the job aren't that interesting. (Like reading all those directories). The reviewer pointed out that movies mostly don't understand this fact and give us a lot of razzle dazzle (or shooting) as a substitute.

balyien said...

That's a very good point! I was so impressed by that (the directory thing). That would be incredibly tedious work. I was also impressed by how hard they worked to track down victims and talk to them, which would have been difficult to do on so many levels. It was nice to see people being portrayed as having that kind of dedication to their work. I feel like most of what we hear in media (fiction and non-fiction) is how much people hate their jobs.