Movie Review: Spotlight (2015)

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Plot: 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.

Rating: 8/10

I was so in the mood to watch this at one point, and it paid off. Spotlight deserved its nomination and victory in the Best Picture category at the Oscars. It is combined as a solid film with packed performances and a thrilling plot. Liev Schreiber was particularly good – I’ve always considered him an accomplished actor, but this is some of his finest work. I was initially convinced that this man had to have had a motive – he was so clear on where he was heading to reveal how underhanded and terrible the Catholic Church was with dealing with the rampant child molestation in the Church. He also immediately requested that the project be started as soon as he walked in. However, truth was his only motive – he wanted the story out there. No secret vendettas or dramas, just the truth.

It is quite amusing how desperate they were to have Rachel McAdams appear ordinary. You can’t hide that level of beauty. She is an actress that can convey so much with her eyes. Her sympathy and anger and compassion towards the victims came through without her touching the people she was interviewing at the most once. I loved her role;she was equal to her male colleagues and treated as such.

Mark Ruffalo gives another outstanding performance, but I’ve come to accept and expect that from him. He’s quite the celebrated actor, but I feel he deserves more accolades – I can’t really name one movie where I thought he did a bad job.

Michael Keaton delivers another important and noteworthy performance. He’s in a class of his own, and I must say, even though he’s quite old now there is a virility and energy to him that remains appealing after all this time.

I can actually list the entire cast here – it is outstanding work and I cannot praise that enough. It made the movie so much better.

As for the storyline – it is harrowing and even more disturbing when you acknowledge that this is the truth. I was raised Catholic as a child and although we left when the clergy couldn’t answer religious questions from my father properly, it is still upsetting to think that at least a percentage of these priests are child molesters. Spotlight isn’t even the brainchild of some gifted writer; it is based on true events. The Catholic Church is one of the most controversial bodies that have ever existed. I loved that line from sasf that the Catholic Church thinks in centuries. I see that the Catholic Church had some issues with the depiction but it is obvious that they would have done so however the movie turned out. I personally thought it was a clear minded approach to the horrors that these children had suffered under the hands of those who were meant to protect them. The movie could have gone on a witch hunt against the Catholics and it didn’t a great achievement by the script writers and directors.

I liked the anger these journalists developed. Professionalism only goes that far and if they continued through without getting angry or upset it would have been too cold. Mark Ruffalo’s outburst was raw and powerful and completely justified.

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Spotlight is a slow burn – don’t expect quick bursts of drama with this one. It is intelligent and thought provoking. It will make you feel outraged and sickened. I think it does exactly what it is supposed to do. I enjoyed it, not in a happy way but in a understanding more of the sick human race way, and would recommend that you give it a try. Definitely worth the watch.

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Movie Review: Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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Plot:A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Rating: 8.5/10

Have you ever just wanted to write a review and start (and end) with “sooooo, I liked it”? Is that the equivalent of writer’s block for the blogging community? I’ll usually start writing it out and hope something comes from the material, something to spark my opinions, but usually I just aimlessly wander through words hoping to hit a mark.

That is where Shakespeare in Love also starts. I just uncomfortably realized that I’ve now compared myself to William Shakespeare, author of the English language. Now that that is out of the bag, I really liked this film. (See, doing it again)

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Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) has writer’s block, and gives a bracelet to Rosalind, a lady with negotiable affections, with the hope that she will become the muse for his next play. Because she’s a lady with negotiable affections, he finds her in the arms of another man, but luckily finds it in him to pen at least a draft of a very wild idea. Through twists and turns he meets Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful girl who is betrothed to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). Viola falls for Shakespeare and he for her, and they embark on an adventure of romance and intrigue.

This film won the 71st Academy Award for best film in 1998/1999. I checked the other films that went up against it, and while I would have rather awarded the award to Saving Private Ryan (I mean really, there is no comparison here), Shakespeare in Love is a solid film. It takes a significant amount of talent and dedication to make a love story worthy of Academy notice, something this film did very well, winning seven of the eleven awards it was nominated for.

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Gwyneth Paltrow took one of those awards for Best Actress for her role as Viola. Now, Gwyn gets some steady hate and although I’m not always sure why, she’s not my favorite actress. I adored her in here though. She seems so clean and pure and alive, in contrast to the Queen (Judi Dench), and the insufferable Lord Wessex. Her love for Shakespeare is quick and potent, though no one can blame her – I mean just look at Joseph Fiennes’ eyes.

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Now, Joseph Fiennes. A new inappropriate post needs to be up soon, but I won’t litter this review with my appreciative thoughts. Questions though: why isn’t he in more movies? He is a solid actor. Is he related to Ralph Fiennes? I hope so. Is he very beautiful? Yes. I doubt if the real Shakespeare was so beautiful, but he was likely as passionate. Fiennes is a great Shakespeare – passionate, beautiful and intelligent.

The supporting cast does a wonderful job as well, and many British actors and actresses have small parts in here that I enjoyed recognizing their faces. Judi Dench is intimidating as the Queen, and I enjoyed the silly young Ben Affleck (not English) in here – so cute! Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter and Mark Williams are all in mostly small roles, but man, they were lovely to watch.

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Shakespeare in Love is quite clearly a drama/romance. It might not be for everyone – it is heavy on the sexy time, full of quite lame phrases and gestures. I however, am rather squishy at heart and really enjoy a good romantic film. John Madden was an excellent director, and the cast manages to be talented, humorous, quick-witted, sad, heartbreaking and entertaining at once.

And like I said, I really liked it 😀

Have you seen Shakespeare in Love? What did you think of it?