Credit: Kerry Hayes

Newsrooms have always been catnip to Hollywood. With their cold cups of coffee, rolled-up shirtsleeves, and bustling deadline chaos, they’re glamorously unglamorous settings where overworked, underpaid reporters get to speak truth to power. Often this leads to movies that choke on their own selfrighteousness (last month’s Truth). But once in a while there’s a film like Spotlight, which isn’t just the best movie about journalism since All the President’s Men, it might also be the most important. The Catholic Church may disagree. Based on a Pulitzer-winning 2002 Boston Globe exposé that leveled decades of sex-abuse claims against the local archdiocese, the film stars Michael Keaton as the leader of a crack investigative unit (Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d’Arcy James play his bloodhounds) that takes on one of the largely Irish-Catholic city’s most powerful institutions. Tautly directed by Tom McCarthy (The Visitor), the film hums as a tense shoe-leather procedural and a heartbreaking morality play that handles personal stories respectfully without losing sight of the bigger, more damning picture. It would have been easy for McCarthy to paint the church as the film’s sole, monolithic villain. But there’s enough blame to go around to other institutions here, including the slow-to-act media. After all, Spotlight’s newsroom may have its heroes, but they’re not saints. A

  • Movie
  • 128 minutes