SPOTLIGHT, the recent winner of the Oscar for BEST PICTURE deserves its award. Not only is it a great movie, it is a vehicle for Catholic Church reform groups, formed as a result of this scandal, to motivate Catholics to take ownership of their Church and hold their leadership accountable.
Even though I usually shy away from dramatic movies about depressing subjects, I was looking forward to seeing this movie. And I was not disappointed. From the underplayed accents of the Catholic-raised characters to the scenes of Fenway Park, SPOTLIGHT gives a realistic portrayal of Boston. These days movies and tv shows feature characters with “wicked hard” exaggerated Boston accents; being from Southie in Boston is denigrated the way being from ‘Jersey’ was in the 70’s. Seth Meyer’s short, hysterically funny Boston Accent Trailer, a promo for a fake movie about characters in Boston, clearly shows Boston is the new ‘Jersey’ (for my U.K. readers, not the one in your country).
But the story and the issues contained in SPOTLIGHT are sobering. My recommendation to go see this hard hitting drama goes against my grain. As I mentioned before: I hate to watch dramas. If I want to weep about the problems in the world I read or watch the news. But this movie captivates the viewer. The story is unfolded before us, discovery by discovery. We watch the characters’ doubt the facts, their slow realization of the scope of the scandal and their agonizing decisions to uncover the truth and reveal the entire story. We see real journalists in action and feel their angst about whether they have the monetary resources to pursue this news story. The movie confirms the need to support paid journalists. The realistic portrayal of the humanness of all involved, and the individual’s uncertainty of how to respond to discovering the abuse makes the conspiracy to ‘look the other way’ understandable. It was superbly acted. It was excellently written. It was tightly edited. The direct and straightforward manner of telling the story underscored the drama and shame of the perpetration of the massive coverup of the Catholic Church in a way that melodrama never could.
The victims were left molested, shamed and bereft of their faith.
Reform groups continue to show this movie, incorporating it into a larger, continuing dialogue. Just recently the VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL group hosted a panel of the real reporters who broke the story. This group formed in Boston in response to the discovery of what Cardinal Law had done. Their mission continues to be “to pick up where the SPOTLIGHT movie ends.” VOTF. Future Church and CALL TO ACTION goad us to respond to this crisis and more fully participate in reforming our church by asking, now that we know this happened, “What will we do about it?”
I am joining Voice of the Faithful in their mission: Keep the Faith, Change the Church.
© Jane F. Collen March 30, 2016
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