Spotlight 2015

Critics score:
96 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press: Unlike an ongoing investigation, we know the outcome here already. The trick of Spotlight is making the potentially unsexy "how they got there" into not only one of the best movies of the year, but one of the best journalism movies of all time. Read more

Christy Lemire, Like the story being reported within the film, Spotlight is simultaneously emotional and clear-eyed. It's an explosive yet necessary piece of journalism in and of itself. And it's easily one of the year's best. Read more

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: It's one of the best movies I've ever seen about the art and the science of newspaper reporting Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: What the film gets brilliantly right is how journalists can get co-opted by the institutions they cover when their interests converge. And just how much courage it takes to pursue a story that may alienate many of your readers . Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: The year is not over, but I've already seen my favorite film of 2015. Read more

John Anderson, TIME Magazine: An emotional tour de force. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: A superbly controlled and engrossingly detailed account of the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the widespread pedophilia scandals and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic Church. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: Like All The President's Men, it's a muckraker movie that celebrates the power of the press by actually showing journalists doing their job, pen and notebook in hand. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Let's cut to the chase: "Spotlight" is a flat-out great movie. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Tom McCarthy's movie doesn't turn its journalists into heroes. It just lets them do their jobs, as tedious and critical as those are, with a realism that grips an audience almost in spite of itself. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: This offers a potent reminder that investigative journalism is critical to a just society, and that we need it now more than ever. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The film is often straightforward and hard-hitting. But it plays out all the usual tropes of the investigative-journalism genre -- the hot tips, the clandestine meetings, the hand-wringing about ethics, etc. -- without adding a jot of novelty. Read more

Adam Graham, Detroit News: Invigorating moviemaking in every way imaginable, "Spotlight" is spot-on. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ At the beginning of Spotlight, a title card proclaims "based on actual events," a tactic many films use to manufacture authenticity even if it's never earned. Here, it feels absolutely right. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: The film hums as a tense shoe-leather procedural and a heartbreaking morality play that handles personal stories respectfully without losing sight of the bigger, more damning picture. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: It's a great story about getting the story. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: The capable main actors don't have much to do except chase leads around town and interview those willing to talk; there's no depth given to these reporters. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "Spotlight" is mightily impressive not only because of the importance of the story it tells but also because of how much effort and skill went into bringing it to the screen in the best possible way. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: One of the most accurate depictions of journalism put on film, perhaps even the finest example we've seen yet. It's easily one of 2015's best films. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Spotlight doesn't wallow in the glory of old-media ethics or lament the ongoing death of newspapers, but the movie quietly celebrates the rigorous standards of journalism that are dissipating in this era of click-baiting and Twitter outrage. Read more

Elisabeth Donnelly, The New Republic: The movie's an ensemble piece, building up its characters slowly and carefully, giving each actor a chance to shine. More importantly, it's a movie that's invested in listening. Read more

Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek: At its heart, Spotlight is an argument against deference to authority, which informs so much great journalism. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: McCarthy is tackling something more basic than paranoia-namely, pride of place, and the way in which it offers both an embrace and a choke hold. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: This tautly directed, terrifically acted movie springs from a Boston Globe investigation a decade ago that led to hundreds of incidents of abuse - in reality, an entire perverted culture - being hauled out into the sanitizing glare of daylight. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: "Spotlight" is a gripping detective story and a superlative newsroom drama, a solid procedural that tries to confront evil without sensationalism. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Inspiring stuff, the stuff of Hollywood all the way back to Frank Capra and before: a story of scrappy underdogs, determined to get to the truth, and toppling the mighty in the process. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: If there was a Best Ensemble acting category, the cast of Spotlight would be a frontrunner. The film has no lead actor but there are five or six strong supporting performances. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: A landmark film about investigative journalism and the year's most thrilling detective story. Keaton and Ruffalo lead a cast of exceptional actors who could not be better or more fully committed. Read more

Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader: A touching ode to the old-fashioned notion that some things simply need reporting; never mind the effort, the expense, or the effect on circulation. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Though "Spotlight" is definitely a reporter-as-hero story (and, along the way, a bittersweet love letter to the kind of investigative journalism that's increasingly disappearing), the film doesn't let its characters off the hook. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: The movie finds drama, not in telling the audience what it doesn't know, but in showing us people finding out the scope and dimension of what we already know, and then letting us see them react with shock, horror and a firm sense of purpose. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Once in a while a good movie about journalism comes along to remind you that behind every important news story stand the men and women who researched, interviewed, and fact-checked to make it that way. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: You don't need to be a news junkie to admire such sleek, adult entertainment. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Spotlight" isn't quite as good as "All The President's Men," the gold standard of films about journalism. But it's close. Read more

David Sims, The Atlantic: Like any good reporting job, Spotlight slowly builds momentum from nothing, gathering disparate bits of information into an emotional juggernaut of a story. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: This is why Spotlight's moral of humility is so powerful. There are so many things that we don't know, so many assumptions that we don't recognize as such, so many questions that we haven't even thought to ask. Read more

Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail: A remarkably assured and tight retelling of the Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church's legacy of child abuse and cover-ups. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Good old-fashioned journalism makes for great drama in Thomas McCarthy's [Spotlight]. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: If Spotlight were merely about putting the pieces together to break a big news story, it would be interesting enough, but the film gracefully, without overplaying its hand, delves into many provocative ideas and subplots. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: It's that all-too-rare beast: a movie that's both important and engrossing. Read more

Liz Braun, Toronto Sun: Spotlight is a mystery, a thriller and a human interest drama, but mostly it's a love letter to investigative journalism. Read more

Brian Truitt, USA Today: No need to bury the lede: Spotlight is a masterpiece. Read more

Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly: Don't miss this crackling - and deeply important - film about the power of the press. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: Spotlight feels both timeless and modern, a dexterously crafted film that could have been made anytime but somehow feels perfect for right now. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Every actor rises to the occasion. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: It's the year's best movie so far, and a rarity among countless dramatizations that claim to be based on actual events. In this one the events ring consistently-and dramatically-true. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: It's not a stretch to suggest that "Spotlight" is the finest newspaper movie of its era, joining "Citizen Kane" and "All the President's Men" in the pantheon of classics of the genre. Read more