Reviewers Give Spotlight Top Marks for Newsroom Authenticity

Raves from Josh Dickey, Lou Lumenick and many more.

The history of the Toronto International Film Festival as a Best Picture Oscar contender launching pad is well-documented. This year’s fall-to-February cycle is now fully underway, with the Tom McCarthy drama about the Boston Globe’s uncovering of Catholic Church abuses in the early lead.


Spotlight is being favorably compared to 1976’s All the President’s Men, which lost out to Rocky in the Best Picture category but managed to claim four other statuettes. A fun strand has been to read the aspect of professional veracity that resonated most for individual journalists reviewers.

For Mashable entertainment editor Josh Dickey, it’s the thrill of the chase:

Veteran journalists know it well: That jolt of adrenaline right at the moment when you’ve got a hot story locked down, something important you’ve been working on for a good long while and no one else has — and all that’s left to do is write and publish. It’s enough to make a grown professional run through the streets with wild abandon.

That feeling may be the world’s most thrilling legal drug, and it is coursing through every vein of Spotlight.

For New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick, it’s the trickiness of an Establishment beat:

What the film gets brilliantly right is how journalists can get co-opted by the institutions they cover — in this case the archdiocese of Boston and the powerful Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou) — when their interests converge. And just how much courage it takes to pursue a story that may alienate many of your readers (Liev Schrieber, whose character is Jewish, is informed by the publisher that 53 percent of the Globe’s readers are Catholic).

This is the kind of movie that will shine a harsh spotlight on journalists who give it a “Rotten.” At press time, the only one in that lonely newsroom corner is THR’s Todd McCarthy. (No relation, obviously, to Spotlight co-writer and director Tom!)
[Photo of Boston Globe real-life reporters in Toronto via: @SpotlightMovie]

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.