‘Spotlight’ Review


If you read my review of ‘The Revenant’, you might remember me mentioning that a movie has to do one or two things. Entertain and/or educate me. The aforementioned film did neither, as I found it boring, and didn’t learn anything in the process.

‘Spotlight’ was probably the most constructive films I’ve seen in awhile. On paper, this entire subject could have been made into a documentary, but instead, this movie tells a fascinating story within the journalism industry. It’s a movie that’s equally about journalism as it is about the scandal itself. You not only learn about the subject at hand, but you learn a thing or two about the ways journalism can work to bring light on a subject, and how a single story can impact the world.

I felt engaged all throughout ‘Spotlight’, and the terrific acting really helped. Everyone apart of this ensemble cast did an excellent job, and even the supporting characters that were being interviewed felt like real victims.

Even though I knew some minor details about this scandal, I was consistently feeling shock as the movie went along, all down to when the screen went black. And even with that said, everything about this movie is handled very subtly. The scandal itself is bad enough, and the filmmakers knew that the audience would want justice just as much as the main characters. We’re given just enough detail in small grains, all throughout the film. I felt gradually more and more disgusted by this scandal with every new fact that I learned alongside the characters. Everything builds masterfully, and I loved how realistic and subdued the main characters kept, knowing that they had to wait until they had every last piece together before they could let the story go public.

My favorite scene was when Mark Ruffalo’s character, escaped from being so restrained, and just let loose verbally, expressing how badly he just wanted the story to finally get out there. It happened right at the time where I felt like I would have started to freak out if I was apart of this Spotlight team.

It’s a film that educates you. You don’t watch a movie like this for a “good time”. But you will feel something after learning about all of this. As the movie ended, a long list of names appear, pertaining to those that were involved in the case. My theater was dead silent, and I felt my heart swell up. ‘Spotlight’ brings light on a particular subject, and does a terrific job of hitting you emotionally.

The performances, script, and direction is so good that the movie actually does feel almost like a documentary. One small detail that I actually noticed in the look of everything was that the film stayed very true to the time-frame it was based on. The office was filled with early 2000’s computers, and there were billboards/ads that I spotted that I haven’t seen in over a decade. I understand that it’s the filmmakers’ job to get those kinds of details right. But for a story that didn’t actually take place that long ago, I’d imagine it would be very easy to get lazy in that area. It seemed like they went out of their way to show certain things. I didn’t feel as if I needed to be told this was set in 2001/2002, because the movie actually looked and felt like I was watching something from that exact year. It’s minor, but it really stuck out and improved the feel of the movie for me. It felt like an actual period piece, which is weird considering the fact that 15 years isn’t a crazy amount of time.

‘Spotlight’ is insightful and emotional, and I think it deserves to be seen by everyone. Check it out as soon as you get the chance. But don’t watch it if you’re having like the “best day ever” either. Because it might totally ruin your mood.

Rating: A

16 comments on “‘Spotlight’ Review

  1. Good read. This tops my list of “to watch” films at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice review. I have been meaning to see this and literally I feel like what you said… I think shoot do I feel like getting depressed? Hence why I haven’t seen it yet. But I should!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The movie is also very incisive about the job, what being a journalist means in The Boston Globe. I thought people’s comparisons to the classic “All the President’s Men” is apt. I hope, though unlikely, this film will be remembered many years from now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is the problem I encounter again and again when discussing either Oscar bait dramas or documentaries that cover “important” or controversial subject matter, usually about human rights abuses or demographic oppression. No one’s denying that the material is important, but I stand by my statement that we have to analyze these films *as films first* if we are to write good reviews of film craft and analysis.

    That being said, I appreciated your analysis of the time period details, which is a solid point, and I agree that the acting from the entire cast was very, very good. I think my problem is that at this point I’ve embraced the visual composition analysis of filmmaking. I don’t need tons of CGI explosions or nonstop loud noises to be interested in what’s going on (that’s too much in the other direction), but I can’t for the life of me get into so many of these depressing dramas, because I feel they’re more about the material than the craft itself. I totally understand why, and I get people’s general embracing of these pictures, but it’s just not my idea of what movies should be.

    To completely change the subject, I like your actual writing a lot (again… craft over subject matter! 😉 ). I like how you don’t have run-on sentences and actually bother to edit your reviews for spelling and grammatical errors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your compliments, that really means a lot!
      As far as Oscars go (and especially this year with all the drama), I honestly can’t get into them much. The films that are nominated are actually kind of ridiculous, and I’m speaking more as a general movie-goer. No one really sees a lot of these movies. There’s even a huge difference with Spotlight and Revenant. Lots of people are seeing Revenant, mostly because it’s getting the most buzz. No one I know has seen Spotlight. No one I know outside of the blogosphere has seen Room, and last year, no one I knew saw Birdman until after it won Best Picture, with the exception of myself and my room mate. The Oscars are a fun show, but as far as the nominees go, I simply just take those as a very high class recommendation list. And I agree with all of your points heavily, and even though I really enjoyed Spotlight, I don’t think it’s amazing enough for Best Picture. I could really care less about these awards outside of just seeing the nominees for myself, and watching the entertaining presentation. Whoever wins never matters to me, and you brought up a heavy reason for why.
      Thank you again for your kind words! I’m loving the discussions we’re having and I hope we continue to be this engaging with our posts!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sweet, dude, I’m enjoying them a lot, myself.
        Your assessment of the Oscars: “The Oscars are a fun show, but as far as the nominees go, I simply just take those as a very high class recommendation list,” is probably the healthiest mindset one can take. It’s not something worth hating given that it *is* an awards show, and it’s certainly more classy than something like The Grammy’s or India’s Filmfare Awards. Every time I see people posting stuff like #OscarsSoWhite or taking them seriously from a social or political POV, my eyes just glaze over…
        Then again, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t drink in honor of Mad Max winning Best Pic or Best Director.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If Mad Max wins I will be so happy haha
        But yeah you’re right. I actually hate most awards shows. This is the only one I watch. It’s kind of like my Super Bowl. Even though many times there are nominees I could care less about, the whole ceremony just feels like a celebration of the films/industry of that year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed, and the selections themselves often feel incredibly arbitrary, other than the standard “Oscar”-bait dramas, of course. Are the Academy Awards a celebration of global film, English-language film, or just Hollywood? The nominees are overwhelmingly the latter two, but City of God (2002) was nominated for Best Director, and French films like Amour and The Artist often get nominated. What about Bollywood, why no Asian films? British films are always in the mix, but what about Aussies? Make up your minds!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You make great points. I totally agree with you. It’s pretty random.

        Again, you just gave another reason why I just take it all as just a recommendation list, that just happens to come with a fun prime time special. Haha


  5. Bravo. Spotlight is still sits on top of my Best of 2015 list. Such a well-crafted, perfectly paced, and tightly intense film anchored by superb ensemble work. Such a fan of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I liked this movie.. though Mark Ruffalo’s ‘Jimmy Olson’ impersanation of mannerisms annoyed the bejesus out of me..and Rachel McAdams is so vanilla in her acting I can’t understand the awards thingy for either of them. That being said, I went to a wonderful screening with a Q & A afterwards and usually everyone stays for them as they are fun & informative..I was LIVID when 1/2 the screening walked out after the viewing..such disrepect to the filmmakers as I’m guessing many couldn’t handle the subject matter. But then don’t come see the movie is my thing…you know what it’s about ..uugghhh.. sorry my little rant…hahaha and the fact the I like The Big Short better and that you don’t like The Revenant.. aaahhhhhh did I make the right follow here?? hahahahahahahha yes I am kidding..but seriously The Revenant was perfection! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s crazy that people left! Don’t know why they’d see it in the first place.
      I see your point with what you said about the acting. I guess it didn’t bug me completely because I didn’t really factor in award noms and all that. In regards to Ruffalo, I guess I’m just used to him being kind of dorky for some reason. I think he could have been a bit more reserved like he was in Zodiac, but probably wanted to show a little difference since the 2 roles are so similar. I saw a lot more of his Bruce Banner than normal, giving that awkward geek vibe. McAdams has always been pretty plain to me though.
      Sorry about our split opinions on Revenant! haha It’s not that I hate it or anything, it’s just not my type of movie. Outside of the amazing visuals and brutal scenes between man vs. man, nature, and beast…there was just something missing in order for me to feel emotionally invested. Just a difference in overall resonation really. But I do agree that the film was perfection from the more objective standpoints. Haven’t seen Big Short yet! It actually wasn’t playing in many theaters near me when I had the interest in going, so it’s probably one I’ll wait for to rent. I’m excited to check it out though!

      Liked by 1 person

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