SPOTLIGHT: It’s not depressing. It’s not icky. Go see it.



In September, I was listening to AirTalk on KPCC, one of LA’s NPR stations. On Fridays, they feature Film Week (one of my favorites), a show where reviewers talk about new film debuts, international film festivals, and DVD releases. On this particular show, the host and one of the reviewers were discussing the Venice Film Festival and the film Spotlight. (still looking for the interview link. sorry)

The host, Larry Mantle, said something that struck me.

“Who is going to want to see a movie about sexual abuse?”

His guest answered it perfectly. He said – and I paraphrase – Spotlight isn’t a film about child sexual abuse. It is a film about journalists uncovering a story, layer by layer.

And the guest was right.

I will add: It’s a film about victims demanding accountability. It’s about justice through journalism. It’s a film with a winning message, a call to action, and the power of truth in reporting.

I was invited to a sneak screening of Spotlight in early October. I was lucky to be able to see it with Barbara Blaine, the founder and president of SNAP. I also took my father, who had never met Barbara, and who loves a good movie.

And what an amazing night it was.

My 78-year-old dad (who is not a part of the “movement”) loved the film. He left with questions – good questions – about whether or not things have really changed, how bishops still react, and if reporters were still devoted to such meaty stories. He looked at Barbara was blown away by the organization she created. He couldn’t believe that I actually KNOW Phil Saviano, Mitch Garabedian, and Richard Sipe (and have spoken with Mike Rezendes on numerous occasions).

The movie—because it’s a great movie about journalists uncovering a huge story for the right reasons—pushed him out the complacency where he had nested after the Los Angeles cases settled.

Not once did he say, “It made me uncomfortable.” He didn’t wince or squirm. And as the father of a survivor, he does a lot of squirming.

He left saying, “I love a good movie!”

And if it takes a good movie to remind everyone that the problem isn’t over, I’m fine with that.

When I tell people about the film they say, “But it’s such a depressing subject.” It’s not. It’s not icky. I promise.

I’ve been a part of the clergy sex abuse survivors movement for 14 years. I have seen movies about our work that are disturbing, upsetting, and make me cringe. This is NOT one of them.

So go see it.


And no, I wasn’t invited to any of the swanky premieres. Boo. My dream photo of me with John Slattery will have to wait.

Always a bridesmaid …




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