“Spotlight”

Here is our review:

Although this film is ostensibly about a team of journalists at the Boston Globe who exposed corruption at the highest levels of Boston’s Catholic Church, it’s also about the law and about lawyers. Interestingly, lawyers are both the villains and the heroes of this remarkable story: (i) the villains who defended scores of corrupt priests and helped cover up their evil misdeeds by negotiating secret out-of-court settlements with victims; (ii) the heroes who represented the victims and fought on their behalf in open court, refusing to negotiate secret back-room deals with the Church.

Moreover, one of the most momentous turns in this story does not occur in a press room; it occurs in a courtroom, when lawyers for the Globe present a motion requesting the release of sealed documents that would expose to the world the Church’s immoral cover-up. The judge who rules for the press and unseals the documents is Constance Sweeney. Without her ruling or the persistence of some of the lawyers for the victims, there would probably be no front-page story. As such, we wish to echo film critic Richard Brody’s sentiments. He wrote last fall, “As I watched the movie, I was utterly frustrated—I wanted the camera to be a fly on the wall in Judge Sweeney’s chambers as she discussed the case with her law clerk, or perhaps with a colleague, so that her reasoning would become part of the film. No such luck; the ruling is delivered, and the journalists get back to work.”

Give the lawyers some credit (and blame) too …

 

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