Spotlight (film)

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Spotlight is a 2015 film about the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core. The film received a total of six nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, winning two for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Directed by Tom McCarthy. Written by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer.
Break the story. Break the silence.  (taglines)

Walter 'Robby' Robinson[edit]

  • We got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy, and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry. Which story do you want us to write? Because we're writing one of them.
  • This is how it happens, isn't it Pete? Guy leans on a guy. And suddenly the whole town just looks the other way.

Marty Baron[edit]

  • Sometimes it's easy to forget that we spend most of our time stumbling around the dark. Suddenly, a light gets turned on and there's a fair share of blame to go around. I can't speak to what happened before I arrived, but all of you have done some very good reporting here. Reporting that I believe is going to have an immediate and considerable impact on our readers. For me, this kind of story is why we do this.

Mitchell Garabedian[edit]

  • This city, these people... making the rest of us feel like we don't belong. But they're no better than us. Look at how they treat their children. Mark my words, Mr. Rezendes. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.

Phil Saviano[edit]

  • When you're a poor kid from a poor family, religion counts for a lot. And when a priest pays attention to you, it's a big deal. He asks you to collect the hymnals or take out the trash, you feel special. It's like God asking for help. So maybe it's a little weird when he tells you a dirty joke, but now you got a secret together, so you go along. Then he shows you a porno mag, and you go along. And you go along, and you go along, until one day he asks you to jerk him off or give him a blow job. And so you go along with that, too, because you feel trapped, because he has groomed you. How do you say no to God, right? See, it is important to understand that this is not just physical abuse, it's spiritual abuse, too. And when a priest does this to you, he robs you of your faith. So you reach for the bottle or the needle. Or if those don't work, you jump off a bridge. That's why we call ourselves survivors.


  • Peter Canellos: They say it's just physical abuse but it's more than that, this was spiritual abuse. You know why I went along with everything? Because priests, are supposed to be the good guys.


Marty Baron: Did everyone read Eileen McNamara's column this weekend?
Boston Globe Worker: That's the Geoghan case?
Marty Baron: Yeah, what's the follow on that?
Ben Bradlee Jr.: It-It's a column, what kind of follow are you thinking?
Marty Baron: Uh... well apparently this priest molested kids in 6 different parishes over the last 30 years and the attorney for the victims, a Mr...
Eileen McNamara: Garabedian
Marty Baron: Thanks Eileen, Mr Garabedian says Cardinal Law found out about it 15 years ago and did nothing.
Paul Burke: Yeah, I think that attorney is a bit of a crank, and The Church dismissed the claim.
Eileen McNamara: He-said she-said.
Marty Baron: Whether Mr Garabedian is a 'crank' or not, he says he has documents that prove that Cardinal knew.
Ben Bradlee Jr.: As I understand that those documents are under seal.
Marty Baron: Okay, but the fact remains a Boston priest abused 80 kids, we have a lawyer who says he can prove Law knew about it and we've written all of... uh... 2 stories in the last 6 months. This strikes me as an essential story to a local paper, I think the very least we have to go through those documents.
Paul Burke: How would you like to do that?
Marty Baron: Oh uh, I don't know what the laws are here, but in Florida we would go to court.
Ben Bradlee Jr.: You wanna sue the Church?
Marty Baron: Technically we wouldn't sue the Church, we'd file a motion to lift the seal on the documents.
Ben Bradlee Jr.: The Church will read that as us suing them. So will everybody else.
Marty Baron: Good to know.

Marty Baron: We need to focus on the institution, not the individual priests. Practice and policy; show me the church manipulated the system so that these guys wouldn't have to face charges, show me they put those same priests back into parishes time and time again. Show me this was systemic, that it came from the top, down.
Ben Bradlee Jr.: Sounds like we're going after Law.
Marty Baron: We're going after the system.

Matt Carroll: I've been through a lot of these now. "Sick leave" isn't the only designation they use when they take one of these priests out of circulation. They use a slew of terms. "Absent on leave," "unassigned," "emergency response." They got a word for everything, these guys.
Sacha Pfeiffer: Hmm. Except "rape."

Cardinal Law: If I can be of any help, Marty, don't hesitate to ask. I find that the city flourishes when its great institutions work together.
Marty Baron: Thank you. Personally I'm of the opinion that for a paper to best perform its function, it really needs to stand alone.

Mike Rezendes: Mitch, are you telling me that the Catholic Church removed legal documents from that courthouse?
Mitchell Garabedian: Look, I'm not crazy, I'm not paranoid. I'm experienced. Check the docket. You'll see. They control everything.

Mike Rezendes: Six percent is 90.
Walter 'Robby' Robinson: 90 priests?
Ben Bradlee Jr.: If there were 90 of these bastards, people would know.
Mike Rezendes: Maybe they do.

Mike Rezendes: We got Law. This is it.
Walter 'Robby' Robinson: No, this is Law covering for one priest, there's another ninety out there.
Mike Rezendes: Yeah, and we'll print that story when we get it, but we got to go with this now.
Walter 'Robby' Robinson: No, I'm not going to rush this story, Mike.
Mike Rezendes: We don't have a choice, Robby. If we don't rush to print, somebody else is going to find these letters and butcher this story. Joe Quimby from The Herald was at the freaking courthouse!
Walter 'Robby' Robinson: Mike.
Mike Rezendes: What? Why are we hesitating? Baron told us to get Law. This is Law.
Walter 'Robby' Robinson: Baron told us to get the system. We need the full scope. That's the only thing that will put an end to this.
Mike Rezendes: Then let's take it up to Ben and let him decide.
Walter 'Robby' Robinson: We'll take it to Ben when I say it's time.
Mike Rezendes: It's time, Robby! It's time! They knew and they let it happen! To KIDS! Okay? It could have been you, it could have been me, it could have been any of us. We gotta nail these scumbags! We gotta show people that nobody can get away with this; Not a priest, or a cardinal or a freaking pope!


  • Break the story. Break the silence.
  • The true story behind the scandal that shook the world.


  • To use “Spotlight” as an occasion to wax nostalgic for the vanishing glory of print would be to miss the point. The movie celebrates a specific professional accomplishment and beautifully captures the professional ethos of journalism. It is also a defense of professionalism in a culture that increasingly holds it in contempt.
  • Mr. McCarthy is a solid craftsman. The actors are disciplined and serious, forgoing the table-pounding and speechifying that might more readily win them prizes from their peers. Everything in this movie works, which is only fitting, since its vision of heroism involves showing up in the morning and — whether inspired by bosses or in spite of them — doing the job.


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