It's not only the crime that's the problem, it's the cover-up. Ask any disgraced politician or former CEO.

"Spotlight" is the name of the investigative team at the Boston Globe newspaper. It is staffed with experienced, tenacious reporters who use every tool available to get to the bottom of a story. This story about child molestation by priests and a coordinated cover-up by the Catholic Church earned a Pulitzer for the paper in 2003.

Now screenwriter Josh Singer in collaboration with writer/director Tom McCarthy offers us a riveting look at how it evolved (from one rumor), what issues were discovered (institutional cover-up) and the difficulties they encountered (embarrassed and traumatized witnesses, plus 9/11).

The brilliant cast includes:
  • Mark Ruffalo ("Begin Again") Mike Rezendes is a (lapsed Catholic) workaholic. He wants the scoop and he wants justice for the children.
  • Michael Keaton ("Birdman") "Robby" Robinson wants to expose the institutional cover-up, not just 13 priests.
  • John Slattery ("Mad Men") Ben Bradlee Jr. is thunderstruck when the number of local priests uncovered reaches 87! He reminds them that 53% of the Globe's subscribers are Catholic.
  • Liev Schreiber ("Pawn Sacrifice") This single Jewish man has just moved to Boston to take a new position at the Globe. Marty Baron realizes the scope of the story and tries to talk with the local Cardinal. He is given a Catechism as a gift.
  • Rachel McAdams ("Southpaw") Sasha Pfeiffer can dig out more information from old ledgers than anyone. Her discoveries help make their case. (She sometimes takes her grandmother to Mass.)
  • Stanley Tucci ("The Hunger Games") is Mitchell Garabedian, a Lebanese attorney at sea in Irish Catholic Boston. He is known as "a character" but has been on the right track far too long. He doesn't trust the newspaper.
  • Billy Crudup ("Stage Beauty") Attorney Eric Macleish has a good scam going. Wait until you hear how it works!
  • Neal Huff ("Moonrise Kingdom") Phil Saviano created a support group for victims of priests. He's one of the lucky ones: he didn't kill himself!
Anyone who follows the news knows how this will end; but it doesn't detract a bit from the story. At one point Bradlee says, "If there were 90 of these bas**rds, people would know!" and Robinson replies, "Maybe they do."

As you can see, there is mild profanity, no sex, no gunshots, no vehicular mayhem and no blowie uppie stuff, just an engrossing story about a dedicated group of people taking on a world-encompassing institution because it's the right thing to do.

R-rated because of subject matter (child abuse) but an award winner as far as I'm concerned. See this one!
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