I saw Spotlight yesterday at the Lowell Cinema. It’s a very powerful film. The story is well-known but the movie still generated an incredible amount of suspense. While the core of the story is the clergy sexual abuse scandal, the movie is mostly about how it was covered up for so long. In that, many institutions, including the Boston Globe, are held accountable for looking the other way because it was the most convenient thing to do at the time.
As A.O. Scott wrote in his New York Times review, the major concern of the movie “is the way power operates in the absence of accountability.” That is a phenomenon that is always with us, whether it was in the case depicted in this movie or in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq or in the creation and perpetuation of the housing bubble of last decade. Everyone knew these things were wrong, but no one-at least no one with the standing needed to make a difference-complained. More than anything, that is why it is important to see this movie: to understand the pressure placed upon anyone who wants to depart from the party line, but also why it is so important to do so.
The movie continues at the Lowell Cinema which has, since the last time I’ve visited, transformed itself with plush, reclining chairs that are well-spaced. So when you buy your ticket and they ask you to select your seat at the ticket counter, don’t be concerned with who you will be sitting behind or next to; you’ll never know that they are there once the movie starts.