Spotlight and the Oscars

Yesterday I went to the local art house cinema to see Spotlight, the best picture winner of the 88th academy awards. If you have the opportunity, go see it, it’s amazing. It’s gripping, it’s got a great story and great performances. Everyone seemed to be at their best. In case you don’t know, it’s about a group of journalists who uncover an epidemic of child abuse within the Catholic church.
During the film, I found it hard to distinguish between reality and fiction, which is ordinarily what you want out of a movie. In this case however, I don’t know if I was more shocked by the reality of things then the way it was dramatised. Afterwards I found myself wondering if I would’ve found it as shocking if it were all fiction. Maybe it was both the film and the reality. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
It seems many movies nowadays will show the line “based on true events” to achieve this effect (I could list a whole bunch of horror movies). If we cannot root for the characters on the screen, at least we can root for the actual people that went through the ordeal, right? However, in the case of Spotlight, I didn’t once think of the real people. It might as well have been a work of fiction and I think that’s exactly it’s power.
The only question that remains is: was it worth the Oscar? The dilemma is real because it’s a great film, but somewhere in the back of your head you keep wondering if it’s not all because of social awareness. I would recommend this movie to everyone, if only for the awareness it brings. On the other hand, it’s just a great and very well-crafted film.

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