Spotlight [Spoilers]

Has anyone seen this movie yet? I’m seeing a lot of critics comparing it to All the President’s Men, and I can see why. For a movie that is basically composed of nothing but scenes of interviews and actionless conversation, it gets pretty intense, and the acting is fairly top notch all around (though I did kinda love when Stanley Tucci’s character asked Mark Ruffalo’s character:
“Where are you from?”
“I’m from here (Boston).”
“Really? You don’t sound like it.”
(Ruffalo shrugs)

The movie basically throws up it’s hands and says, ‘no one can do a good Boston accent, so half of our actors didn’t even try.’ But that didn’t bother me at all. I’d almost rather they not even alluded to it.

I saw it last weekend and liked it quite a bit. Some people in the theater with me laughed when one of the journalists described the process used by the Spotlight team; a couple of months to decide on a story to pursue and then a year or more of investigation before they write a story. Few newspapers today can afford the luxury of tying up several journalists on such a long-term project.

I also heard a segment on the public radio program On The Media about the movie. A couple of the real-life journalists described how they met with the actors portraying them, only to later see how the sctors absorbed their mannerisms. And one of the journalists pointed out that it was no secret in Boston that some priests were abusing children. People just understood that they shouldn’t let their kids near certain priests.

Loved it. I agree that it’s intense. It’s an old-school procedural, and watching these journalists dig for and find the pieces of an impossibly hard-to-imagine puzzle then try to fit the pieces all together while being thwarted at every turn is fascinating. They have no idea when they start how big the story really is, and it keeps growing and growing and growing, and even when the story breaks, they have no idea that they’ve only scratched the surface. It’s as interesting to watch the characters as their realization grows as watching them finding the story, which itself is sad and horrific.

Yes. One amazing thing about it is that in look, feel, atmosphere, acting, writing, directing, it seems like an old-school Hollywood movie, like All the President’s Men, but in fact it’s an independent movie, made for less than $20 million.

Since it’s getting near to awards season and I’m a die-hard awards geek, I will confidently predict that it will definitely be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, along with several other nominations (probably Director, screenplay at least, and maybe Keaton or Ruffalo in Supporting). It might even win Best Picture. I would not be at all surprised.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see it win the SAG award for Best Ensemble. But I’d love to see Ruffalo get a Best Supporting Actor nom.

I think you’re right about the Screen Actors Guild Rick. Ruffalo too.

The Gotham Independent Film Awards aren’t really Oscar precursors, because they’re for, well, independent films, but last year Birdman won Best Picture at the Gothams then went on to win the Oscar. Spotlight just won Best Picture at the Gothams (as well as screenplay and a special jury award for the cast) so it could happen 2 years in a row.

(I also like that the Gothams chose Paul Dano Best Actor for Love & Mercy. Hope it kicks up some publicity for Paul and that fantastic movie.)

Spotlight has been nominated for Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild, but surprisingly, neither Ruffalo nor Keaton were. I think they’ve been cancelling each other out. Rachel McAdams was nominated for Supporting Actress by SAG. The Ensemble nominations are:

“Beasts of No Nation”

“The Big Short”


“Straight Outta Compton”


What a tough, tough category. The only one I haven’t seen is Beasts. If I were voting I’d probably vote for The Big Short, but they’re all very worthy.

Full list of SAG nominations.
Spotlight was also nominated for these Golden Globes.

Best Motion Picture - Drama

Best Director - Motion Picture
Tom McCarthy

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Tom McCarthy
Josh Singer

Full list of Golden Globe nominations.
It’s also doing very well with critics and other groups.

Full list of nominations/wins so far for Spotlight.

Having recently heard several of the Spotlight journalists on the radio who were portrayed by Ruffalo, et al in the movie, none of them had a pronounced Boston accent either. So my vote goes for “modeling after the people they’re playing” and not “throwing up their hands in futility.”


It’s up for six Oscars!:

I saw it a few days ago and really enjoyed it. I agree with the OP, it reminded me very much of All the President’s Men in tone, style and level of tension. Great cast and script, and an engaging story about heroic journalists pursuing an important story despite huge obstacles.

Did we ever see any of the people from the 1976 opening scene (at the Boston police station) again? I didn’t think so, and I thought it might have been a nice callback if the young cop - older and more jaded, but still troubled by what he learned early in his career - had appeared again in 2001.

I thought they were setting up the John Slattery character as a Catholic Church mole within the Globe, but obviously not.

I didn’t buy that the Ruffalo character would have to get the supplemental exhibits from the court once Tucci’s lawyer had filed them. Surely Tucci would have kept copies, and could give them directly to Ruffalo, as they were a matter of (unsealed) public record by then?

Also a little implausible that Keaton’s old Catholic-lawyer buddy throws him out of his house, and then comes outside and gives him the confirmation that he needs. But it worked.

Here’s some good behind-the-scenes trivia on the movie:

I’m rooting for this to win Best Picture. I’d be ok with a few other of the nominations. That is, I wouldn’t feel this was robbed, but I think it was the best/tied for the best of them. I mean, I knew what was going to happen, but I was still on the edge of my seat watching it.

I am a little biased because many of the elements of the movie intersect with my own personal experiences (raised Catholic in Mass with media-filled resume), but I think that helped me see how good of a job they did portraying those things… with the exception of a few accents.

It won nothing at the Golden Globes, so I fear that momentum is just not there. But who knows, the Academy will sometimes surprise us.

This was a rare film where no one in the theater got up when the credits started rolling. Everyone just sat there trying to absorb it.

Saw this and also the documentary Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. They’re really the same movie underneath. The Prison of Belief explains both.

I thought it was OK but essentially it seemed pretty tepid. Even the apparent warning that we must beware of losing investigative reporting like Spotlight was undone by the fact that there is little that doesn’t just fall into their laps and even then they have to be led by the nose to actually cover the story.

I’d love to know if there was ever a time when a headline accusing 20 priests of being pedophiles could be “hidden in metro.” Not one person on the staff of this paper thought to ever follow that up?

Yeah I agree with this. I liked it, it was a good movie, but I kept thinking there would just be more to it. I wanted a follow up with the one priest who was all “yeah I fooled around with the kids, but I didn’t rape them! I would know because was raped myself!” They basically just forgot all about that guy. I just didn’t really find the film that suspenseful.

Honestly the only part of the film that really surprised me was the coda at the very end about all the others stories that came out afterwards in other cities.

I saw this film yesterday. I thought it a good and worthy film but not a great film.

Well, bump, because this is apparently the best picture of 2015, according to the Oscars.

Frankly, I’m amazed that it won. I saw this in the theaters a couple weeks ago and thought it was fine but conventional, kind of plodding, and ultimately forgettable. I started looking at my watch when there were still 45 minutes to go, and when I got home didn’t even bother to look up if there were a thread for it on SDMB, which I normally do if a film provokes even a medium reaction from me.

I’m just kind of baffled. I didn’t get to the movies much this year so the only other Best Picture nominee I saw was “Room” (which I thought was straight out bad), so it’s not like I can say what else should have gotten the prize. (Though I did see “Carol,” which was not nominated, but which I thought was far superior to either “Spotlight” or “Room.”) I don’t think “Spotlight” will go into the category with “Crash” as a Best Picture that many people think is just terrible, but if I can make a prediction I think that in just a few years from now many people looking at lists of recent Best Picture winners will see “Spotlight” and strain to remember exactly what movie that was…

You thought Room was bad? In what way? I don’t know if I can explain what made Spotlight such a good movie except to say that you obviously have different tastes than the majority of the Academy voters (and critics, and other moviegoers).

I thought all eight nominees were good, and that Spotlight was one of the best of those. It was one of my favorite movies of the year (which does not always translate into ‘best movie of the year’).

I thought it was a good, but not great film. There really weren’t any “obstacles” to writing the story other than their own institutional reluctance. The Church didn’t lean on them very hard, nor did the friends of the church. The “drama” in the movie consisted of the court clerk’s office closing on time requiring a reporter to go back the next day.

The underlying story of the Church and Priests was definitely monumental, but the movie itself was not high drama. That said, I thought the acting was superb.

I think a lot of the movie’s success is based on how worthy it is and what a fine charismatic ensemble cast they engaged.

This kind of stuff:

seems really salient. It is obviously Hollywood self congratulatory nonsense. He does realize that the movie is about a newspaper that 15 years ago wrote a story that “uncovered” an open secret that the church and others already knew about for decades? Does he think that without his movie these events are still a secret?

As for the acting, I was keen to see the movie as I really like every cast member I knew. However I thought Rachel McAdams was incredibly bland and Ruffalo’s performance, from memory, consisted of putting on an voice, getting angry and staring at things.

Oh man, Room… To be honest, I thought it wasn’t much more than a superior version of a Lifetime Movie of the Week. The “ripped from the headlines” story (though I understand the author says it wasn’t directly inspired by anything), the all-too-cute, too-precocious child, the rather maudlin acting and psychological dynamics… It just didn’t do it for me. I was also very aware of - and very annoyed by - the handicam-style cinematography. Not sure of the exact term for it; I’m talking about the thing that gives the impression that the camera is hand-held, jostling around as though you’re seeing things through the eyes of a character. I don’t mind that as a rule, but in Room it felt cliched and overdone.

My tastes more often than not do overlap considerably with that of Academy voters, critics, and other moviegoers. That’s why I’m so baffled this year.